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Promoted Ebbsfleet and Maidenhead proving their worth at National League level

Wednesday 16th August 2017
It may still be early days in the 2017-18 National League campaign, but Ebbsfleet United and Maidenhead United are already proving to be stubborn opponents following their promotions from the South Division last term, with the former team still unbeaten after four matches.

Ebbsfleet entered the current season hoping to continue their impressive form from last term having not lost a league game this year. Based in Northfleet, the team suffered their previous National League South loss when suffering a 2-1 defeat at Dartford on Boxing day, but at the Stonebridge Road home stadium, they have become formidable hosts. Champions Maidenhead were the only team to win a league game at the venue last season when recording a 3-2 victory back in mid-November.

After earning a creditable 2-2 at Guiseley in their opening National League fixture of the current campaign, Ebbsfleet then comfortably beat Maidstone United 2-0 on home soil, before participating in a fixture which proved that they will be difficult to beat this term.

The Fleet hosted fellow newly promoted team AFC Fylde for their third league contest at this level and were 2-0 adrift after just 15 minutes with defensive lapses partially to blame. During a crazy first half of action, three further goals were scored with Ebbsfleet trailing 3-2 at the interval. There were no further goals netted until veteran midfielder Andy Drury equalised with just three minutes remaining to preserve his team's current unbeaten competitive home sequence at Stonebridge Road.

A visit Dagenham and Redbridge then followed where Ebbsfleet were losing 2-0 and 3-1 before a late goal claimed by experienced striker Danny Kedwell earned his team another 3-3 draw. Kedwell was a prolific striker at both AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham during his earlier career but netted 12 goals last season for the Northfleet club and has already scored four times this term.

Another productive striker plays for Maidenhead United, a team managed by flat-capped and former West Ham midfielder Alan Devonshire. David Tarpey netted 44 league goals for the Magpies last season during his third campaign for the club, and he has only ever played non-league football.

Tarpey failed to find the net in an opening day 1-1 draw at Maidstone but scored his team's only goal during a 2-1 home defeat by Wrexham. However, the Henley born striker had found his range and added a brace when his team claimed a 2-1 home victory against relegated Hartlepool at York Road, where Maidenhead have been playing football since 1871. Even better was to follow in their latest away clash at Fylde.

After the early dismissal of home defender Josh Langley, who was also injured when conceding a penalty, Tarpey helped himself to four goals including the first and another spot kick as Maidenhead claimed a comfortable 4-1 success, and so inflicting a first league defeat of the season upon the Lancashire outfit.

Maidenhead and Ebbsfleet clash at York Road on August 19th, and there will be further tests ahead for both teams, but while Tarpey maintains his current goalscoring form and the Fleet refuse to accept defeat particularly at their home stadium, a decent few months could await these two recently promoted clubs.
John Welsh
I am a freelance sports writer specialising in football covering Premier League, EFL and English non-leagues plus top leagues in France, Germany and Italy. I have written for Inside Futbol, Football Weekends plus football previews for Hong Kong Jockey Club, and I’m also the author of book First Touch, a novel covering the exploitation of young African footballers and their experiences in Europe.

Total articles: 31

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