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Ebbsfleet 0-0 Alfreton
EBBSFLEET United were held to a scoreless draw at home to Alfreton Town on Saturday.
But despite the disappointing result, boss Liam Daish is optimistic ahead of next week’s FA Cup clash at Woking.
Both Fleet and Alfreton started sharply and showed plenty of endeavour going forward.
The first chance fell to Nathan Elder after five minutes, but the home striker’s shot from 18 yards was held by Jon Stewart in the visiting goal.
The next 20 minutes saw a strong spell for Alfreton, who were wasteful in front of goal. Nathan Arnold blazed over from close range and Paul Clayton improvised well, only to see his volley saved by Preston Edwards.
Anthony Wilson then spurned a wonderful opportunity to put the visitors ahead when his unchallenged header flew over the bar after 25 minutes.
Moments later the Fleet’s Liam Enver-Marum saw his effort cleared off the line.
Nevertheless it was Arnold who missed the best chance of the half as his low effort from close range was brilliantly saved by Edwards on 36 minutes.
The second half didn’t boast anywhere near as much action, although Ebbsfleet’s Joe Howe did hit the bar from 25 yards with an audacious curling effort.
Enver-Marum was generously awarded man of the match in what turned into a lacklustre 0-0 game which nobody looked like winning.
Fleet manager Daish was disappointed with the result, but pleased with the clean sheet.
He said: “You are always looking for the three points at home, but it was tough game.
“We are tightening up at the back a bit now, but we have just got to get that balance right so we are scoring goals as well.
“Earlier in the season we were scoring a lot but now we look tight at the back.
“We are playing with a bit of fear going forward.
“Maybe we are trying to be too precise.
“Alfreton are decent, they beat Luton 3-0 so it was always going to be tough.
“We had some chances, Joe Howe hit the bar and their keeper pulled off a few good saves.
“But really you want to be picking up three points at home.”
Midfielder Ashley Carew played 90 minutes against Alfreton following his return for a second spell at the club last week and the manager was impressed by what he saw.
Daish said: “He gives us a bit of time to catch up with play when he is on the ball.
“He also gives us a little bit more quality in the final third.”
Regardless off the Alfreton result, Daish sounded full of optimism when asked about the forthcoming FA Cup encounter at Woking.
He said: “It might suit us playing away from home against Woking. “I have stressed to the lads we must make sure we prepare right through the week and we go there with real belief we can make it into the next round.
“I think we are the underdogs, if you take a look at the table they are favourites.
“We had a hard-fought game against them a fortnight ago, but we will go there with belief we can make it into the next round.
“The cup is important to us and a win next week could kick-start everything.”
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