Vanarama National League – The Hive London – Saturday 18th August – KO 15:00
It has been a difficult start to the season for the Bees but they will be aiming to put recent disappointments behind them when they host Ebbsfleet tomorrow.
John Still’s side will face last season’s play-off semi-finalists off the back of a 2-0 mid-week defeat to Harrogate Town. Two first-half goals from Jack Emmett and Liam Kitching made sure the Bees went home empty handed, still on the hunt for their first win of the season.
Barnet will go into tomorrow’s game determined to clinch maximum points and climb up the table in what promises to be another tough encounter.
It’s safe to say, it’s been a while since the Bees have gone face-to-face with Ebbsfleet. December 2004 marks the last time the two sides have met in a match that saw the Bees claim all three points.
Despite Ismail Yakubu’s own goal on 15 minutes to give The Fleet a one-goal advantage going into the break, the game ended 3-1 to Barnet.
Liam Hatch equalised for the visitors just past the hour mark before Nick Bailey put the Bees in front four minutes later.
Barnet made sure the points were theirs with just over 15 minutes of normal time remaining courtesy of midfielder Dean Sinclair.
Manager – Daryl McMahon:
Ebbsfleet have gone from strength to strength since Daryl McMahon was named manager in April 2015 after a five-month spell as caretaker boss.
In his first full season at the helm of The Fleet, he guided his side to the National League South play-offs but suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the final at the hands of Maidstone United.
However, McMahon did taste play-off triumph the following season after beating Chelmsford City in the final to mark an impressive campaign which saw them finish two points behind champions Maidenhead.
In his first season leading Ebbsfleet in the National League, it was de ja vu for McMahon as he had play-offs firmly in his sights yet again. However, a semi-final defeat to Tranmere Rovers meant his side couldn’t pull off back-to-back promotions. In the same campaign, he also picked up the Manager of the Month award for February.
McMahon also suffered promotion disappointment with the Fleet as a player. In a two-year spell at the club, where he made over 70 appearances, he was part of the side that lost 1-0 to Dover in the 2014 play-off final.
Alongside current club Ebbsfleet, McMahon also went on to play for the likes of Leyton Orient, Stevenage, Cambridge and Port Vale.
Aged 35, the former midfielder remains one of the youngest managers currently in the National League.
One to Watch – Danny Kedwell:
Danny Kedwell signed for Ebbsfleet back in 2015 after spending four years with Gillingham and it’s safe to say, he is a goal machine.
The former EFL striker has bagged over 50 goals in 160 appearances for the Fleet and will very much be on the hunt to add to his impressive tally this campaign.
Kedwell has always had an eye for goal, no matter what level. Before his move to the Conference South with his current club, he was rustling the net in Leagues One and Two for Gillingham. In over 136 appearances for the Gills, he found his name on the score-sheet 45 times. This added to his 40-plus goals for Welling United, 15 at Grays Athletic and an impressive 67 in three seasons for AFC Wimbledon.
During his time with the Gills, he was top scorer in their League Two winning campaign of 2013. He was also part of a Wimbledon side who clinched promotion to the EFL in 2011 and most recently helped Ebbsfleet in their play-off triumph of 2017.
Although the 35-year-old hasn’t found the net this season, he will undoubtedly be looking at Barnet’s shaky start as a target to get off the mark. His pace and strength could cause the back-line problems tomorrow and they’ll have to be on top of their game if they are to keep Kedwell off the score-sheet.
Similarly to the Bees, Ebbsfleet also enter tomorrow’s game off the back of a mid-week defeat. McMahon’s side suffered a 1-0 loss at home to Sutton United courtesy of a 33rd minute Craig Eastmond goal.
So far this season, The Fleet have picked up one win and one draw whilst suffering two defeats, including the disappointments of Tuesday night.
Their opening game saw them fall to a 1-0 loss to Martin Allen’s Chesterfield after Zavon Hines found the net from the penalty spot on 65 minutes.
A 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient followed after Corey Whitley’s stoppage time equaliser secured Ebbsfleet’s first point of the new season.
The forward was at the heart of things again four days later as he bagged The Fleet’s first and only goal of the game in a 1-0 away win over Hartlepool United.
However, with things not quite going to plan in their last match, McMahon’s side will be eager for a quick bounce back this weekend.
Luke Coulson arrived at Ebbsfleet after a short spell with Barnet. Signing from Eastleigh in January 2017, the 24-year-old went on to make 11 appearances for the Bees before leaving at the end of that season. Coulson was part of Ebbsfleet’s play-off side of last season and has over 50 appearances to his name. He’s also accumulated 10 goals since he joined the club just over a year ago.