27 May 2013

Ebbsfleet United v AFC Telford

The following is my article I wrote for the home game against AFC Telford in April:

Season 2012/13 has certainly been crazy as far as Ebbsfleet United are concerned.  Admittedly there have been more lows than highs which has meant that for next season the Mighty Fleet will be plying their trade, hopefully, in the Blue Square South.  The defeat at Hyde United effectively sealing our fate.

Discussions about what went wrong this season will no doubt take place after the final whistle has blown.  However, for this article I thought it would be good to look at some of the highs of the season.  Believe it or not, there have been a few!

A highlight was the first game of the season where the Fleet came out on top of a 9 goal thriller at Nuneaton.  Despite going 2-0 down early the lads fought back to take the lead and come out eventual winners by 5 goals to 4.  So after the first game we were equal top of the Blue Square Premier.  Oh how we miss those days…

Another highlight actually happened in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying round.  Having not won an away game since the season opener, the Fleet travelled to Woking looking to get back on track.  A last minute goal by Ashikodi saw Ebbsfleet through to the First Round proper of the FA Cup.  Hopes were high for a local game, perhaps against near neighbours Gillingham, or a plum tie against a team like Portsmouth. 

The draw was unkind and the team was pitted against League 1 Carlisle United.  More than two hundred fans made the long trek to Cumbria to cheer the players on.  By all accounts the team played superbly and were praised by the Carlisle management and fans for their battling spirit despite losing 4-2.

During March the Fleet needed to put in a strong performance to help in the survival push.  Southport were the visitors to a very chilly Stonebridge Road and were sitting safe in mid-table.  Despite this the Fleet turned on a great performance to win the game 4-1! This gave the team impetus for the next few games including the 1-1 away draw against Cambridge United.

The players have certainly given their all, every single one.  Anyone who plays under Liam Daish always gives 100% and nothing less.  A few players deserve to be singled out for a special mention.  Preston Edwards, England C’s number one, has had a fantastic season.  Despite the results this season, Preston has made many fantastic saves to keep the team in the match.  He has certainly contributed to the points tally with his shot stopping.

Nathan Elder too has had a great season.  As at today Nathan had scored 16 league goals.  Not too shabby for a striker playing in a struggling team! There are certainly a number of teams in this league that would love to have a striker scoring that many goals.  I would also like to mention Moses Ashikodi who has missed a large part of the season with injury.  Despite this he did become Ebbsfleet United’s second International player, having played World Cup games for Antigua and Barbuda.  A fully fit Ashikodi could have made a huge difference to the Fleet.

Finally, a special mention too for Joe Howe. Last year’s runaway player of the year has had another solid season and continues to be one of the backbones of the team.  He has even managed to score a few goals as well, which is always appreciated!

So it has not all been doom and gloom as you may believe!  In a few month’s time a new season will start and we can begin afresh with new challenges and the quest to return back to the Blue Square Premier League!

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