Ebbsfleet United boss Daryl McMahon felt his side needed to improve after losing 1-0 in the Kent derby against Maidstone United on Saturday.

The hard-fought derby was a tense affair throughout the first half, with neither side having any clear chances.

In the second half the drama unfolded, however, and after 55 minutes Bobby-Joe Taylor's free kick was met by the unmarked Joe Healy who headed the visitors into the lead.

Sensing that their unbeaten league campaign was slipping away from them, the hosts fought back and hounded the Maidstone goal, but were constantly thwarted by goalkeeper Lee Worgan.

As the game entered stoppage time, Fleet pushed forward and thought they had secured a point when Robbie Willmott found the net but his goal was ruled out by the official, and with it Maidstone secured the win.

“I thought Maidstone have done well in the second half to be honest. They have done a job on us,” McMahon said.

“I thought the game was not a great game but they got the goal, which was a poor goal from our point of view.

“It is poor defending from us, but it happens. I thought we were the better side in the first half.

“I thought we got into good positions but we lacked quality in the final third and in the end it has cost us. It did not seem to fall for us.”

The defeat scuppered Ebbsfleet's unbeaten run in the league, but McMahon was upbeat despite the loss.

“I have said from day one that there is a long way to go," he added.

“If someone said to me that we would be sitting here in October six points clear, I would have bitten their hand off.

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“We do not get too down and we do not get too high – we need to get back to being what we are good at.

“There are lots of stuff about our game today that needs to be better and we need to improve on.

“We have had a fantastic start and we will go again.”

McMahon’s side now have a week off and the Fleet boss is confident the break will not continue the halt the momentum the club have suffered from this defeat.

“I do not think it will be too hard,” he said.

“We set out to be successful this year and the squad, and everyone involved at the club, are very driven.

“We have not lost any focus.”

Ebbsfleet's next fixture is on October 17 away at Gosport Borough.

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