Ebbsfleet 4-0 FC Halifax Town: Fullarton bitterly disappointed at ‘inept’ performance

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Town boss Jamie Fullarton described his side’s performance as “inept” after Halifax were beaten 4-0 at Ebbsfleet.

The Shaymen conceded two goals in each half to condemn them to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Ebbsfleet’s first goal - the first of two by striker Michael Cheek - appeared to be handled into the net.

Chris Bush added a second with a fantastic free-kick after a foul on the edge of the Halifax box.

Danny Kedwell scored a penalty shortly after the restart, and Cheek rounded off the scoring with a free close-range header when a free-kick was nodded across goal.

Fullarton said: “If you don’t defend set-pieces - four set-pieces equals four goals today.

“That sums the game up.

“And if you don’t defend set-pieces against a physically strong team that have the aerial ability that they have, and their reaction to second phase set-pieces, then you get punished, and we were punished today.”

Fullarton said Ebbsfleet’s danger from set-pieces had been identified as a threat before the game.

“You don’t need to be an innovative coach to identify the fact that a team with eight 6ft 3in players, who play off two 6ft 2in aerial-threat strikers - that’s going to be their game plan,” said the Town boss.

“Of course we identified it, of course we made them (the players) aware of the importance of it, and we didn’t do it today.”

Town started with the same 11 that performed so well against Morecambe in the FA Cup first round win on Tuesday, but they produced a performance nowhere near the same level.

“If you put that into context, we have started with the same 11 because of the circumstances and situation of where we find ourselves,” Fullarton said.

“Therefore, maybe it was a game too much in this week for them.

“It looked that way, because we looked like we lacked energy in comparison to not only Morecambe, but Dover.

“Whilst other teams, including Ebbsfleet, had a game midweek, they made four changes today.

“Whether or not that was a contributing factor, it still doesn’t legislate for not defending first phase or second phase set-pieces like did, because it was four set-pieces, and four varied set-pieces, that cost four goals today.”

On Ebbsfleet’s contentious first goal, Fullarton said: “You’re looking for referees to manage games, not influence them.

“But it was a handball, which their bench at the time said was blatant.

“The only people that didn’t see that was the referee and the linesman who was obviously on the blind side of it.

“Goals alter the direction of a game, they have an impact and an affect.

“But then obviously the free-kick was an excellent free-kick.

“But it’s how we gave the free-kick away, and that wasn’t acceptable, considering the threat from set-pieces.

“One of the things we were looking at was reducing the amount of corners, free-kicks and throw-ins we gave them in our half, so that’s a disappointment.”

On Ebbsfleet’s penalty just after the interval, Fullarton said: “It’s something you say at half-time to guard against, but unfortunately, to day, we were punished with four set-pieces.

“After that (third Ebbsfleet goal), it’s a mountain to climb, in the third game of a week that obviously showed that it was just a game to much for us this week.”

Town failed to produce a shot on target in the game and made little impression as an attacking force.

When asked how frustrating it was not being able to replicate their performance against Morecambe, Fullarton said: “It was an inept performance, but we still should have come away with a 0-0 with an inept performance because we are organised, structured and prepared enough to be able to go away with under-performing in a game, whether we’re leg weary or whatever the circumstance or situation. Sometimes you have those games.

“But we should be walking away with what we came with, which is a point.

“So that’s disappointing, not frustrating.

“There’s a pyramid of emotions where you go from anger to frustration to disappointment, which is higher up the pyramid, and that’s where I’m at.

“I’m disappointed. That pyramid goes anger, frustration, disappointment and upset, and I’m at the top of that pyramid of emotion at the moment, because I’m bitterly disappointed, and touching on upset, because of today.”