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Trophy exit hard to take for Ebbsfleet boss
EBBSFLEET manager Steve Brown felt the Stonebridge Road outfit did not deserve to lose Saturday’s FA Trophy third round tie at Havant & Waterlooville.
Nigel Atangana’s 61st minute winner proved to be decisive in a hard-fought game, although Fleet striker Billy Bricknell controversially had a late goal ruled out.
Despite the 1-0 loss, Brown was satisfied with his side’s performance and felt they had done enough to at least draw the game.
He said: “I thought it was a very competitive game in as much as both sides were willing to go for the win, making it end-to-end stuff.
“It looked like it was going to be the kind of day where a wonder strike, an own goal or a mistake would end up deciding it. I didn’t think we deserved to lose today.
“I say that but did we do enough to win?
“The dressing room is absolutely deflated and what we need to do is go again against Farnborough on Tuesday.
“We need to shelve this one and move on very, very quickly.”
Brown, whose side have now lost three consecutive games, added: “As much as you’re full of confidence in the middle of a good run, confidence does get knocked when things don’t go your way.
“We’ve lost to good sides, so it’s no disgrace. We’re not losing to sides in the bottom half of the table, we’re losing to sides in and around us, which is something we’ve got to address quickly.
“We need to get back on a winning run and all we can do is keep working on the training ground.”
Some might argue going out of non-league’s premier cup competition could be a good thing bearing in mind the club’s number one priority of promotion this season, but the manager was having none of it.
Brown explained: “I’d have liked to have stayed in the Trophy and tried to get a play-off position, too.
“I’m not a believer of putting weaker sides out in cup competitions and I’m not particularly a believer of thinking ‘Well that’s gone, so we can concentrate on the league’.
“I’m absolutely devastated we haven’t gone through today and so are the players.
“What I have to make sure of now is that from now until Tuesday, we get a positive edge to the dressing room.”
Regarding the disallowed goal, Brown was unsure over whether the right decision was made, although he did admit the linesman seemed certain when flagging.
“Billy Bricknell is a striker and honestly believes he came from an onside position,” the manager said.
“But in all fairness to the linesman, the flag went up immediately so it wasn’t like he was in two minds about it.
“I thought it was a very quick free-kick from Daryl McMahon that caught their back four asleep and Bill finished like he does.
“It didn’t look offside from where we were but sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don’t. It’s a shame as we were applying a lot of pressure in the second half.
“To be fair, Havant were only really affecting us on the counter attack in those last 15 minutes.
“I thought we applied enough pressure to at least come out of the game with a draw.
“It’s disappointing but that’s what cup-ties are all about, they’re end-to-end stuff.
“We made a mistake on a corner and left an area unmarked, which was a small mistake, but it got punished.”
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