Macclesfield was no fun, but once the dust had settled, Wrexham might well have decided that giving the same side a chance to make amends was a better option than ringing the changes.
Andy Morrell and Billy Barr don’t seem to be a management team given to rash moves and wholesale changes, so any alterations are likely to be minor. However, there are a couple of issues to consider for them.
Looking at the defence first, they really can’t be faulted this season....apart from the three unnecessary goals they’ve conceded! At Macclesfield they were more or less untroubled, but conceded from two sloppily defended corners, so what does the management team do? Reward the back four for a solid display or create a sacrificial lamb to warn against such aberrations?
Chris Westwood or Martin Riley was the big choice to be made before the Woking match, but Westwood was impressive at Macclesfield, and with the other three pretty secure in their places, one would expect the same back four to line up, with a dire warning against similar lapses in concentration.
In midfield, Johnny Hunt's ability to shake off a knock probably means that trio will remain in place, but Morrell will have weighed up what to do up front. Creating chances wasn't a problem at Moss Rose, but putting them away certainly was. Still, their lively showing is likely to mean they'll get another chance: the interplay between the front three in the pre-season friendlies and against Woking certainly suggests they ought to be persevered with.
Ebbsfleet have had a similar start to us, winning their first game but losing their second. That’s where the similarities end though: they kicked off with a crazy 5-4 away win against Nuneaton Borough, but then stumbled in their first home match of the season when they lost 1-0 at home to Braintree Town.
That loss was contributed to by the dismissal of home debutant Patrick Ada, but the defender won his appeal and will available to try to last a full ninety minutes on the Stonebridge Road pitch against us!
There’s no question the red card played a part in the defeat: Ada went in the fiftieth minute and the only goal came twenty minutes later.
United didn’t have the happiest of returns to the top level of non-league football last season, but a Summer shake-up might just have strengthened the hand of their iconic manager Liam Daish, who has earned the enduring respect of Ebbsfleet’s fans with his no-nonsense approach and loyalty during the longest spell anyone has enjoyed in the club’s hot seat.
At first things seemed to be going badly as his squad disintegrated, with the loss of top scorer Callum Willock, Liam Envers-Marum and Ricky Shakes leaving the side looking particularly thin in attacking areas.
However, the return of Envers-Marum after a trial at Stevenage failed to bear fruit and the resigning of enigmatic striker Moses Ashikodi has suddenly left Daish looking like he has plenty of options up front: certainly, his side’s freescoring performance on the first day of the season didn’t seem to suggest they had problems in front of goal!
Against Nuneaton Ebbsfleet fielded a 4-2-3-1, with Tom Phipp pushed in behind the striker and scoring twice. However, he was played deeper on Tuesday as Ebbsfleet fielded the same eleven but switched to a 4-3-3. As he hit the post, his effectiveness wasn't necessarily diminished too much, but it'll be interesting to see which option Daish goes for.
Despite Tuesday's result, Daish may well see 4-3-3 as a more attacking option for home games, and it would set up an interesting confrontation on their left wing, where Liam Envers-Marum, a big striker with good feet, would push high up onto Declan Walker and offer a target for long diagonals.
In fact, both Envers-Marum and Elder are big and good in the air. That'll make the defensive role of Hunt and Brett Ormerod crucial as they look to work hard in midfield to prevent right back Joe Howe from having the time to stand high balls to the far post from high up on the pitch.
On the other side of the attacking trio - and like Wrexham's line-up, this is a side which plays three genuine strikers up front - Moses Ashikodi is fast and blows hot and cold. If he's in the mood, he could really hurt any side at this level.
In midfield there's plenty of energy and capacity to go box to box - Neil Barrett plays the most conservative central role, but he has had the ability to arrive dangerously in the box throughout his career. He scored at The Racecourse when the sides first met in 2008 and regularly impresses against Wrexham. Wrexham's ability to track runners will be tested, but the visitors will have an advantage when it comes to retaining possession which they'll need to take advantage of, recirculating the ball patiently and forcing the Ebbsfleet midfield to drop deep and Envers-Marum and Ashikodi to fulfil the defensive duties which don't particularly suit them.
60-SECOND GUIDE TO NORTHFLEET
A main feature of Northfleet is the docks, built in the Eighteenth Century but in decline by the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Many fine vessels were built there, and a model of one can still be seen in St. Botolph’s Church.
Transport remains a theme today, as Ebbsfleet International Station is a major hub on the rail route to France via the Eurotunnel. However, its design has been criticised for a lack of pedestrian access to Northfleet itself: despite the fact that it is only 250 yards away from Northfleet’s mainline station, the walk between the two is circuitous and lengthy.
As well as transport links, Northfleet is also known for providing a cheeky comfort: the massive Bowaters paper mill is the sole manufacturer of Andrex toilet tissues!
Northfleet was subjected to one of the worst bombing raids in the Second World War on Friday August 16th 1941. Around 106 high explosive bombs were dropped onto the town, killing 29 people, injuring 27 and damaging two local schools.
There's always tight games between us and Wrexham but we'd like to get our first win in front of our home support. Liam Daish 2012-07-16T22:08:35 2012-07-03T19:15:55 Ebbsfleet United Wrexham Blue Square Premier