Ebbsfleet United become the sixteenth side to visit the MBi Shay Stadium in a league fixture this weekend, as the Shaymen look to get back to winning ways.
Despite what was a positive draw at Wrexham last weekend, where Town could easily have nicked all three points, the Shaymen are now without a win in their last seven Vanarama National League outings.
Neil Young’s men will can now change that against the Fleet, in what will be his first home game since taking over as caretaker manager of the Shaymen.
This task comes against an Ebbsfleet side who we have not seen too much of in recent years. Before this season, you would have to go back to the 2007/08 campaign to find the last meetings between these two sides.
However, the meeting from earlier this season seems like the ideal place to start. Going into the game, the Shaymen had enjoyed a better start to the campaign than their hosts for the day.
As Town sat just outside the play-off places after twelve games, Ebbsfleet were hovering around the mid table mark, needing a win to propel them up the league standings.
A familiar sight saw the scores goalless going into half time, despite Town going close to breaking the deadlock after Matty Kosylo struck the post for the visitors’ best chance of the half.
Up until half time, it was a close affair between the two sides, although the second half would soon change that. Just two minutes after the restart and the home side had the advantage.
Substitute Sean Shields, who came on towards the end of the first half, latched onto Darren McQueen’s pass to slot home the opening goal for the Fleet, stunning the Town defence early on.
With the home side now in the ascendency, they managed to double their lead mid-way through the second half. The pairing of McQueen and Shields proved deadly once again as Shields slotted home what was to be the match winner, succumbing Town to just their fourth defeat of the campaign so far.
Town’s visit to Stonebridge Road back in September was the first time the two sides had met since our reformation in 2008. Before then, the 2007/08 Conference Premier season saw the newly-named Ebbsfleet and the Shaymen look even after both fixtures against each other.
Both sides met early in the season at Stonebridge Road, with Ebbsfleet fresh from their re-branding which saw the old Gravesend and Northfleet FC name dropped for the start of the campaign.
It was to be the home side who edged the game in their favour, as Stacy Long scored his first goal of the season early in the second half to make it three wins out of four for the Fleet.
However, in the return fixture at the Shay, it was the Shaymen who came out on top with a 1-0 victory themselves, as they went on to secure safety despite being docked ten points for entering administration before folding and re-forming a few months later.
If you cannot make it to the Shay for the game against Ebbsfleet then there will be live match commentary along with live updates available on the club website.
Read more posts by Ben Armitage