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Dartford cup meeting excites Ebbsfleet boss
Steve Brown and assistant Steve Gritt watch Fleet beat Gosport 2-1 on Saturday. PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD.
EBBSFLEET United manager Steve Brown can’t hide his excitement ahead of the FA Cup clash with neighbours and old rivals Dartford this weekend.
Brown’s side beat Gosport 2-1 to extend their winning streak to six games on Saturday and it seems the derby is coming at a perfect time for the Stonebridge Road club.
Stacy Long and Ben May scored the goals in the hard-fought Gosport victory, a game which provided a stern test of the Fleet and good preparation for the eagerly anticipated Dartford clash.
Brown was clearly thrilled to draw Ebbsfleet’s main rivals in the cup and believes there will definitely be something special about the fixture.
“There is so much romance in it, this is probably the best cup competition in the world,” said the Fleet boss.
“For the supporters of Ebbslfeet and Dartford, and for both sets of staff, it’s a mouth-watering tie.
“I was on my way to the club when I found out the draw.
“Peter Danzey, our club secretary, sent me a text message that just said, ‘Dartford!’ and I just texted back, ‘seriously?’ and he said ‘yes’ so I put ‘cracking’.
“Everyone just thought ‘this is unbelievable’.
“It’s great for the supporters and it’s great for the area.
“When you think about the fact that you could potentially play a 90-minute game and then be drawn against teams as big as Wolves or Coventry, how can you not get romantic about that?
“There was always an extra spice and there will certainly be an extra spice next Saturday, that’s for sure.
“Tony Burman, I and the players from both sets of clubs will want it.
“Both teams will go into the game knowing what the rewards are for the win.
“I have been lucky enough to get to the FA Cup quarter-final twice and it’s a magic competition.”
Brown was pleased with the latest league win against Gosport and believed it was the perfect preparation ahead of what is sure to be a tough game with Darford.
“Winning today is a huge positive,” he explained.
“It’s a game where we weren’t at our best but we’ve still come out with the three points.
“I’ve got a lot of experienced players in my team and having the extra focus and the extra supporters here will not make any impact in terms of how we approach it and how they feel when they get out on the pitch.”
Before Ebbsfleet face Dartford, however, they have to travel to Bishop’s Stortford on Tuesday.
Brown was keen to ensure the Dartford clash wouldn’t draw focus away from the league game.
He said: “Dartford will be a great game for everyone to get their teeth into, but I have got a league game to get into first and we will make sure we approach that very professionally.
“Bishop’s Stortford are a very good side and a very tough side and I’ve got to get that out the way first.
“We will do exactly what we do with every other team in terms of how we approach it.”
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