Ebbsfleet United (away), Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 20th September, KO 3.00
 

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 - MANAGER'S COLUMN -

Previous columns can be found under the match report of the game to which they refer, while video interviews can be found here 

The game at Whitehawk was our best performance of the season, as we were better than we were at St Albans. We know we haven't been right, and that's something we've talked about, but that was not just the best away performance for some time but also more reminiscent of a team that finished second last season. I thought we were back to all our good habits. I always thought it would take me a few weeks to get things back the way I wanted them, but we really responded tonight. It's a hard place to come, the traffic was a nightmare, but from 1 to 11 we looked solid, organised, we had shape, we had pace and it was a well deserved victory. 

When you look at the first five or ten minutes we had a great chance to go in front through Jessy, which would have given us a great boost, but as always when you're defending the slope there was an enormous amount of pressure with the long throws and a lot of great crosses coming in from both sides, but we dealt with those very well. Without any doubt Charlie Clough had his best game of the season, that was Charlie back at his best, and players who, although I haven't named them publicly,haven't been playing well enough were all at it tonight and gave me eight or nine out of ten performances. We can't carry passengers in the team, and it was very important that I put my stamp back on the team in work-rate, squeezing and pressing, and you've seen a much more Sutton United-like performance tonight, better than we were at St Albans where we were too open, and miles better than the diabolical first 60 minutes we had to watch on Saturday. 

We wanted to win the toss and defend the slope in the first half, which we did, and to come in at 0-0 was pretty much perfect, and to get the two goals summed up a fantastic away performance. We talked last year about not getting enough goals from set pieces because the delivery wasn't good enough, and Charlie showed what can happen when it's right. We've now got Matt Lockwood and Glen Southam who can deliver a good ball and we'll score goals from that because Charlie attacks the ball rather in the way of John Terry, but because of the delivery we haven't seen as many from him as we might have done. 

Jo Kuffour was the striker I alluded to a couple of weeks ago, we thought we'd agreed terms with him but there was then interest from Wimbledon, Cheltenham and Stevenage so we had to wait to see if any of them made an offer or whether it was agent conjecture. In the end I rang all three managers myself on Sunday – it was not a quiet day in the Doswell house - and they said they weren't pursuing it so I rang Jo and said he ought to get himself in. It was good debut for him – while Kane and he might not have caught the eye I thought they both worked well in the shape we wanted and both will be pleased with their performances.

Kevin Amankwaah's a good player, and when I realised Luke Ruddick was going to be out I needed to bring someone in and he brings discipline, pace and height and I thought looked the real deal tonight. I also thought Jack Evans put in a sterling performance having switched to left back. He's given us five assists this season already going forward but we wanted him to improve defensively, but with Matt Lockwood having a flight from Scotland cancelled Jack had the chance, and I've always said if you play well you keep the shirt and he keeps the shirt.

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