Ebbsfleet United boss Daryl McMahon praised Hungerford Town and believes they’ll be a match for anyone at the top of the National League South – though he felt his side were in control despite the scoreline.
“It was close in the end in terms of the scoreline,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster, “but we had three one v ones that if we’d scored, the game becomes a lot easier. I said to the lads on the bench on 60 minutes that we needed another goal to sort of settle the game down and go on to win by more, or you get that last 10 minutes because you’re 1-0 up and you’re trying to cling on to that and hold on to that.”
And the Fleet boss pointed out that Hungerford’s unbeaten run had meant they were opponents of worth. “They put us under pressure, they’re a good side to be fair,” he admitted. “They’re on a fantastic run and haven’t lost since November and you can see why. I said in my programme notes that they’re big, they’re strong, they’re physical and that can be hard to defend against. But I thought we defended against them magnificently today.
“We got in three times one v one. You’d take that every week with the quality we’ve got and their keeper made some good saves. I thought we should have finished them off. Ashmore’s done what he had to do with half chances, there was no real clear cut chance for them the whole game. But I think they’ll give teams some trouble, they’ve got to play everyone still at home and they’ll fancy their chances of definitely competing at the top.”
And McMahon praised Nathan Ashmore following the goalkeeper’s memorable save in time added on as Hungerford pressed for an equaliser. “He’s the best goalkeeper in the league, probably in non-league,” said McMahon. “He’s been outstanding for us since he came to the club and his concentration again is really, really good this season because he does go long spells not massively involved in the game. That takes a lot of mental strength to stay involved, to make sure you’ve got clean hands, you catch a cross, you don’t parry stuff and he does that really well.”
McMahon now faces his good friend Dean Brennan as Fleet travel to Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday, followed by another journey at Bath City on Saturday.