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Match Previews


28 December 2012

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Our off-the-wall and almost helpful guide to Saturday's game

You won’t have to wait long for your next football fix as the Town are back in action on Saturday when they host Ebbsfleet United at Kenilworth Road.

Who? Ebbsfleet United. Or, in old money, Gravesend and Northfleet. The club changed their name in 2007 to coincide with the opening of the new Ebbsfleet International EuroStar station and are in the midst of their second successive season at this level following promotion in 2010/11.

Hello, Mr Chairman. You can become a member of the Ebbsfleet board if it’s something that tickles your fancy. Since February 2008, the club has been owned by, whose members vote on player transfers, budgets and ticket prices, among other things, instead of those decisions being made exclusively by the club's management and staff, like at most other clubs. Unfortunately the option to pick the team is no longer available, so you can put the phone down if your in the middle of asking to them to select their striker in goal.

Haven’t we met before? Oh yes. The Town have the upper hand when it comes to meeting with the Fleet, winning three of the five meetings – including the 3-1 victory at Stonebridge Road back in August. Ebbsfleet have won at Kenilworth Road before, however, recording a shock 3-2 victory back in January 2010 that left then manager Richard Money speechless. That was soon forgotten when the Town triumphed 6-1 at Stonebridge Road in the return match two months later. The Hatters were also victorious when Ebbsfleet last stepped foot inside Kenilworth Road back in April, when two goals from Stuart Fleetwood and one from Craig McAllister sealed a 3-0 win.

Town trialists. At a first glance it would seem there are no players in the Ebbsfleet squad with a connection to Kenilworth Road – until the press officer delves deep into his memory bank of previous pre-seasons. Three current Fleet players have trialled with the Hatters. Goalkeeper Preston Edwards even won a winners medal in the South West Challenge Cup in 2009. Midfielder Neil Barrett and striker Nathan Elder, meanwhile, featured for the Hatters in pre-season last season with Elder notching in the home friendly against Azerbaijani outfit Gabala.

Trophy Tales. Among the silverware at Stonebridge Road is their pride and joy: the FA Trophy. The Fleet triumphed 1-0 at Wembley in 2008 over Paul Buckle’s Torquay United. But it’s Kent Senior Cup that dominates their trophy cabinet. The Fleet have won the competition seven times.

How they doing? In truth, not so good at the minute. The Fleet have lost their last three games in the Blue Square Bet Premier, shipping 10 goals in the process. Only Barrow lie between them and bottom spot but Liam Daish’s side are only three points from safety. 

On the road. Ebbsfleet arrive at Kenilworth Road chasing a fourth victory away from Stonebridge Road. Their record on their travels up until today is three wins, two draws and six defeats from 11 matches. Those three victories have come at Macclesfield, Tamworth and, on the opening day of the season, Nuneaton, in a topsy-turvy game the Fleet won 5-4.

Just the ticket. Pay on the day for this one. Buy at the ticket office, online or on the turnstile. Usual matchday prices apply.

Not-quite-January sales. The club shop has a 50% discount on selected lines for season ticket holders on Saturday. Matchday ticket holders are entitled to a 25% discount so fill your boots!

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