Much of Ebbsfleet United’s Stonebridge Road may have watched somewhat bemused as Stuart Lewis came off the bench to bag a rare brace of goals inside two minutes but his manager wasn’t quite as surprised as the rest of us.
“Stu’s just told me in there he scored two in 2011 on a Tuesday night against Burton Albion,” Fleet boss Daryl McMahon told Charles Webster. “So he has done it before. He has got goals in him though. I played with him many years ago and he’s a good finisher. Hopefully he can get on a run now and get goals. He’s a big player for us, terrific energy and it’s good to have him back.”
The Fleet boss was just as pleased for his other two-goal hero, with Darren McQueen doing more than enough to justify filling the boots of the injured Aaron McLean. “Darren’s second goal in particular was a terrific goal,” McMahon enthused. “And his reaction as well from missing the chance where he was one v one, but the second goal was terrific because it was a misplaced pass really into him and he just fought to get in. And then it was about how many can we get.”
McMahon thought AFC Sudbury were a tough nut to crack until the Fleet got into their stride in the second half but after the initial goal, he was confident Fleet would power on to the finish line. “First half we were very good without creating anything in the attacking third,” he said. “That was the major difference in the second half in that when we got into the attacking third, we were a lot more clinical and we got the goals we deserved.
“They got 105 points in their league last year, they’ve lost one game this year – it’s always dangerous against these teams that if you take them lightly, you get turned over. You could see from today, they’ve got some very good footballers, they’re used to having the ball.”
Fleet go into the hat on Monday for the Third Qualifying Round draw and McMahon is eyeing a run in the competition, though he’s not quite looking as far ahead as the point he reached as a player. “I hope I get as far [as a manager] as I did as a player. I think it was fourth or fifth round with Orient so it would be nice if we can but we’re a long, long way from that. The quality we showed and the team selection… we picked all of our first-team really apart from injuries, so we want to go a long way in it.”
Regarding injuries, Mark Phillips was rested after his recent car crash and a knock he took at Bishop’s Stortford last Tuesday while there was bad news about McLean, whose injury is worse than originally feared. “It’s not good news with Aaron,” said McMahon after viewing the results of a midweek scan. “We’ll get a final diagnosis on Monday, but it’s not looking good.”