Garry Hill was on the pitch to appreciate his players’ efforts at the end of the game and was mystified as to why Durham referee Andrew Miller red-carded Andy Drury.
“I was three yards from Andy Drury,” Hill told BBC Radio Kent’s Ben Watts, “and basically the referee has turned round and said he’s sent him off for foul and abusive language. No way was Andy Drury abusing him or swearing at him. He was turning around and trying to say to him about head injuries and inconsistency but no way did I hear [foul or abusive language]. Only the referee knows where he’s got that situation from.
“I always will be honest – I was just behind [Drury] on the left hand side of him and I didn’t hear him swear at all at the referee. I heard him having a go, saying you’re missing the head injuries, about the inconsistency. I was surprised. I said to the referee, he’s not swore at you at all, ref, I’ve been standing beside him. And the referee still didn’t say nothing. But they’ll go in and have a little chat, a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits!”
That incident aside, the Fleet boss thought his side didn’t do anywhere near enough to earn points against a solid Salford who while they weren’t exactly streets ahead of the home team, were comfortable once in front.
“By our standards and the way we have been playing over a period of time, I’m a little bit disappointed with our performance all round today,” Hill said. “I don’t think that we’ve done enough. It wasn’t a case of lack of effort or commitment. We didn’t ask enough questions. We looked like a side a little bit low on confidence. I think [Salford] were very similar probably but over the 90 minutes I have no complaints with the result.
“But it’s about us. We’ve lost our way a little bit going forward at home. We’re not creating enough chances at the present time; whether that’s down to personnel missing, lack of bodies. We looked a side today a little bit low on confidence but they’ve always done very very well for me, the players. We didn’t have the spark there today in the final third, we looked short. The bodies ain’t helping us, being short, but we have to keep getting on with that.”
In terms of his stretched squad, which will be down to 11 first-teamers for the Halifax game, Hill revealed he almost had a couple of signings in the bag. “We have to look where we are at the present time. We had two players coming in yesterday at twenty to five. It looked like that deal had been done – one out, two in – and suddenly that was removed from us. So we are thin, there’s no secret about that. It’s a case of not turning round and looking for excuses, I would never do that. We’re not firing on all cylinders at the moment but hopefully over the next 10 days we might get a couple of players back to give us a bit of a lift.
And the Fleet manager stressed that the viability of the club must come ahead of ill-judged signings: “It’s very very easy to criticise somebody,” he said. “The owner has done a great deal for this football club. And as far as I’m concerned since I’ve come in he’s been very good and he wants to take the football club forward. You go down different methods in any business and quite openly the boss has said the club has got to be self-sufficient [in the] long term.
“And he’s right. No one’s bigger than the football club. It’s about Ebbsfleet United going forward. When you’re down to what we’re down to, I can understand it concerns people.
“But at the end of day what do you do. Do you wave the white handkerchief and make excuses or do you keep battling on and being positive? I’m a positive person and we’ve got 10 games to go. We’ve got 30 points to play for. We can try and get as many points as possible but as I say my number one thing when we come to the football club was trying to steer the club away from an area of relegation.
“I think if I was to say to a genuine supporter who knows the club and is aware that it’s been hard for everybody on and off the field that we’d be in the top 10 with 10 games to go from where we were when we came in in November, I think they’d have been pleased and pleasantly surprised.
“I’ve seen a great deal around the football club on and off the field, that we’re all rallying together and all credit to everybody around the club.”
Listen to the full interview below.