Ebbsfleet United v Aldershot Town – Match Preview – Tuesday 12 September 2017
On Saturday, Aldershot Town suffered just their second home league defeat since November 2016, going down 2-0 to Dover Athletic. The three points earned by the Kent outfit propelled them to the National League summit, whilst The Shots dropped to 7th place. However, if there was any consolation for the home side, it was that they remain within three points of the new league leaders. Tuesday evening sees Town travel to newly promoted Ebbsfleet United.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
It’s unlikely that any of the players unavailable to Waddock on Saturday will return in time for Tuesday evening’s match. Shaun Okojie has recovered from a dead leg but remains troubled by a hip problem. Nick Arnold (ACL) is out until at least March, whilst Will Evans (broken toe), Will de Havilland (chipped knee bone) and Kodi Lyons-Foster (final match of a three-game suspension) all remain side-lined. Manny Oyeleke and Shamir Fenelon (both hamstring) are likely to be the first of the injured players to return, but are not expected to be involved on Tuesday evening. It’s unclear at present how long Bobby-Joe Taylor (ankle) is likely to be out of action.
Opposition – Ebbsfleet United FC:
Founded: 1946 (as Gravesend and Northfleet FC)
Nickname: The Fleet
Ground: Stonebridge Road
Manager: Daryl McMahon
Ebbsfleet were promoted to the National League in 2011 but then suffered relegation in 2013 to National League South, where they remained until last season’s promotion. They battled it out with Maidenhead United for the title, losing just four matches all season, but eventually finished second on 96 points. In the play-offs, they faced Hampton & Richmond Borough, beating them 2-1 in both legs to progress to the final, where they took on Chelmsford City and another 2-1 victory saw them secure a place in the National League.
Daryl McMahon began life in football with West Ham United in 2002 and eventually made his professional debut during a loan spell with Torquay United. He had spells with Port Vale, Leyton Orient and Notts County before signing on for two years at Stevenage. He later went on to play for Cambridge United, Farnborough and Boreham Wood, who he joined as a player-coach in 2011 at the age of 27. He left in 2012 and joined Eastleigh, before a year with Dover Athletic. His first spell with Ebbsfleet United was in 2013, and he was appointed Caretaker Manager following the departure of Steve Brown in 2014, taking control for just three games before the appointment of Jamie Day. In 2015, he signed for Boreham Wood, making 11 appearances before being offered the role as manager at Ebbsfleet in April that year. Finishing second in his first season, losing in the Play-Offs to Maidstone United, he led The Fleet to promotion twelve months later. The 33-year-old has recently signed a five-year deal.
Sam Deering was the only player to leave Stonebridge Road of his own volition following last season’s promotion to the National League, opting to join the revolution at Billericay. McMahon has retained eighteen players – more than any other National League club – including ex Shots players Dave Winfield (currently out injured) and Aaron Mclean. Strikers Danny Kedwell, Darren McQueen and midfielder Jack Powell lead the Fleet goalscoring charts at present. McMahon has also added eight players to his squad, most notably Maltese international defender Sam Magri from Dover Athletic, experienced winger Myles Weston (Wycombe Wanderers), midfielder Jack Payne (Blackpool) and prolific striker Danny Mills, who has previously scored 100+ goals for Whitehawk.
Remarkably, Ebbsfleet have drawn eight of their nine National League matches so far this season. They are also unbeaten in all league matches in this calendar year, having gone through the second-half of last season unbeaten in National League South on their way to promotion via the Play-Off Final.
The Shots and The Fleet have met 18 times previously, but this is the first meeting between the two sides since April 2008. On that night, with Gary Waddock’s side needing three points to secure the Blue Square Premier title, Chris McPhee’s 88th minute equaliser forced The Shots to accept a 2-2 draw after John Grant’s double had seen the visitors come from behind. A month before that, Ebbsfleet had won a two-legged FA Trophy semi-final 4-2 on aggregate.
In those 18 games, The Shots have won nine times – including three at Stonebridge Road – with Ebbsfleet United winning four. However, prior to that FA Trophy victory in March 2008, Ebbsfleet’s last victory in the fixture had been February 2002, a 2-1 Ryman Premier Division win in Kent.
Tuesday’s referee is Adam Bromley. He’s taken the middle in three National League fixtures so far this season, showing eight yellow cards and no reds to date. Last season, he took charge of eighteen National League games – including The Shots’ 3-0 home win against Gateshead and the 1-1 draw at Eastleigh – giving out 51 yellows and, in dismissing Jim Kellermann at Eastleigh, just one red card.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and Aldershot Town’s all-time leading goalscorer Mark Butler will be covering the game live on Tuesday evening. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 7.35pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.