Three points and vindication of his team selection were just two reasons Garry Hill had to smile in sunny Yorkshire on Saturday but the Fleet boss was also delighted to see Andy Drury chalk one up for the midfield.
“The front two were a handful today and it’s nice to see a midfield player score,” Hill told BBC Radio Kent’s Paul Fisher. “We don’t get enough goals from midfield, I’ve said that to the players. They rely on Danny Kedwell, Michael Cheek or Cody McDonald. I need to see midfield players getting more goals. That is a big thing for us. I know the other week Jack King scored and Chris Bush scored but not enough goals from midfield.
“We changed it around a little bit. You do your homework and you look at the team you think is the right team and who you’re playing against. We knew we needed a certain amount of energy and mobility to press and work them and pull them into areas. You get balls into the box for the likes of Cody McDonald and Danny Kedwell, you’re always going to get goals but the other two boys [Michael Cheek and Corey Whitely] were the right boys, I think we got the team selection spot on.”
The win was all the more pleasing for Hill coming against a club that has impressed the Fleet manager. “It was a game where we knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “They’ve done very, very well. They’re a club which has moved great strides from gaining promotion last season to being a side with a great deal of momentum, highest scorers in the league, 60 goals before today, playing on a 3G pitch, where they’ve made it very hard for sides. They’re a good side. You look round the ground here, they’ve done a great deal of work, they play football the right way but I think they should be giving us a little bit of credit today as well. We’ve come here to play football, to play on the front foot to try and win the game.”
And whille the terms “smash and grab” and “nicked it” might have been heard in the aftermath of Fleet’s win, Hill thought his side deserved it.
“A draw I was looking at saying to myself it’s not a bad result in one way,” he admitted. “But we’ve gone for it, got the goal, they’ll be disappointed in one way but over the 90 minutes I felt we had the better chances and could have been out of sight in the first 20 minutes. I wouldn’t say we’ve nicked but deservedly won it at the end.
“We knew it’d be a big test [with] having players suspended, we’ve come here a little bit thin on bodies but whatever team we put out, they have to work all over the park and show character. We deservedly were 1-0 up [and] in the first 20, 25 minutes it could have been two or three. We hit the post, a couple kicked off the line. We came out of the blocks very fast and were on the front foot. We were in the ascendancy going forward and looked like a team which was coming here to attack more than defend.
“Second half, they got an early equalising goal and that was going to be a big test of our character, a question to be asked. We had a very large travelling support which we’re very, very grateful for in every way and form. It shows when you travel all the way up here and you have two coaches full to come and support the team and I think they’ll go home tonight knowing they’ve supported a team which has given commitment.
“The front two led the line the way I expect. If you want to be a successful team in this league, you have to run, close down lost causes, you have to be prepared to give everything for the midfield, the defence and your goalkeeper. If they see their two attacking lads up top working that hard, it’s a great lift for everyone else and they ran themselves into the ground.”
Dean Rance returns for the visit of Hartlepool United on Tuesday night and the extra body is almost a luxury for Hill given recent team selection woes.
“It’s a nice problem,” he said. “We had a young 17-year-old from the academy which is really pleasing. We were a little bit thin. I saw him play down at Tonbridge the other week and it’s nice for the younger players to see a fellow teammate getting noticed and getting an opportunity. I can’t remember Ebbsfleet having young players coming through for a long time. Going forward, we will take a close eye on what’s coming through the academy at the football club.”