Published: 06:00, 29 November 2019
Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson is hoping their defensive shortcomings at Barnet on Tuesday night were a one-off.
The Fleet have the National League’s worst defensive record having now shipped 46 goals in the first half of the campaign.
But Watson is backing his players to respond in a positive manner after their 5-2 reverse – their heaviest defeat of the season.
“I’m putting it down to one of those nights and hopefully it will remain just one of those nights,” said Watson.
“They know I’m not happy because I’m quite placid and if I do go then it’s for a reason. It’s few and far between but sometimes you have to.
“It’s never all the time with me, it has to be with things that warrant a kick up the backside and against Barnet it warranted it.
“It’s not just defenders, it’s midfield areas where we didn’t get close enough to the ball. We didn’t lay a glove on them in the first half.
“It’s not winning enough headers when the ball goes up to our front boys and it’s coming straight back. It’s wing-backs not being tight enough or in the right position.”
Watson conceded that much hinged on one minute of madness as Fleet got back into the game at 2-2, only to immediately gift Barnet a third goal.
“The third goal is pivotal, absolutely,” said Watson.
“We started the second half well, got back to 2-2 and within the blink of an eye you’re back behind again.
“It’s the manner of it, it’s a poor, poor goal to concede and I wouldn’t expect to see that at most levels.
“It’s far too easy, it’s a Sunday League goal. We all know it’s too easy, you can’t hide behind that fact. But these boys I love them to bits, absolutely love them.
“They are great lads and I will stick with them all. I will back them to the hilt.”
Watson even admitted that he made an error with his team selection.
He wouldn’t reveal which choice he was referring to, but it might have been his decision to use Tyler Cordner in midfield for the first time in a Fleet shirt.
“I don’t mind holding my hands up,” said Watson.
“There’s been plenty of good decisions in the last few weeks and I’ve taken the plaudits for that.
“But if I feel I’ve made an error of judgement then I’ll hold my hands up and say that.
"I wouldn’t say it’s cost us the result but perhaps it’s cost us a little bit in terms of the team performance.
“I made a decision before the game where I’m now holding my hands up and I think some of the boys need to have a look at themselves.”
Fleet hope to welcome back James Grimes and Alex Lawless from injury for Saturday’s crunch home game against a Wrexham side who are also in the bottom four.
More by this authorMatthew Panting