A disappointed Dean Rance admitted that Ebbsfleet United’s defeat to Maidenhead United was hard to stomach after his side had hauled themselves back into the game but urged the Fleet fans to stick with a team who have only lost one league game in their last nine.
“It’s a hard one to take but there’s another game Tuesday,” Rance told Charles Webster. “And there’s a long, long way to go. The fans were brilliant today. With the fans behind the goal and especially the way they were today you don’t really notice [the empty stand] and I hope they keep sticking with us. The last two months we’ve had one loss in however many games so it’s not like we’re on a bad run, it’s just a little blip and we need to react to it and show our mettle.”
The Fleet midfielder was one of many in the stadium left mystified by referee Elliott Kaye’s decision to issue Mark Phillips with a straight red card, though he acknowledged his side’s eventual downfall was of their own doing.
“The ref tried to even it up, I don’t really know what he decided to do there, he said it was for dangerous play but he’s the only one who’s made that decision,” Rance said. “As soon as he’s made that decision it evens it up and gives them another little thing to hang on to. But we’ve got to be stronger at the end, organise better and get rid of the ball, it’s as simple as that. All three are sloppy goals and other than that I’d say they didn’t really trouble us. Going into the last 15 minutes we were looking at ourselves thinking there’s only going to be one winner.”
And Rance knows his teammates will be sore at the result and looking to tighten things up against Hampton & Richmond Borough. “We’ve been so solid the last two months, to concede goals like that was so unlike us. For them to get three as easy as they did is something we’ll have to have a look at and make sure it doesn’t happen again because it was too easy especially at the end.
“We’ve got enough experience to know how to deal with different individuals. They were good balls into the box for the goals but we’ve got to stop that first ball into the box and we’ve got to be better with the headers. His second goal was a very good header but the other two were avoidable.
“They’re a good team, they’re the ones to be chased now and they’re going to have to keep putting in performances every single week. And we’ll be right behind them trying to catch them. Nothing was won here, it’s not the end of the season.”.