Match Preview :- Ebbsfleet United - Tuesday January 13th, 2009 (7:45PM)
Celtic are away again on Tuesday, this time in the FA Trophy when we go to face the current Trophy holders Ebbsfleet United (kick off 7:45pm, weather permitting, there will be no match centre for this game). Ebbsfleet are currently fifteenth in the Conference Premier.

We have met Ebbsfleet once, in their previous guise as Gravesend and Northfleet. That game was an away game in the Trophy also, and it was a 2-0 win for Celtic.

The club, based just outside London, have lost their last five matches, with their last win coming on the 16th December when they beat Bognor Regis Town 2-0 in the FA Trophy to set up Saturday’s clash. Ebbsfleet’s last league win was back on the 6th of December when they beat Weymouth 1-0 at home. Though they went out of the FA cup in the first round to Crewe Alexandra (losing 1-0 away), their cup record is good this season, progressing past Dover in their county cup, and beating Eastbourne and Stevenage in the Setanta Shield.

Ebbsfleet’s league form is worrying manager Liam Daish with just eight league wins out of twenty-four, with six draws. They have scored thirty-one goals (thirteen at home), whilst conceding thirty-seven (ten at home). This gives them an average of a goal per game at home (0.8 overall) and a concession rate of 0.8 goals per game at home (1.3 overall). ‘Fleet’s top scorer is Luke Moore with nine (three from the spot), with Michael Gash close behind on eight, and Kezie Ibe in third place with seven.

Ebbsfleet’s last clean sheet was in the Trophy when they won 2-0, and the Weymouth game was their last clean sheet at home. They have kept twelve clean sheets in all their games, eight in the league, and eight at home (in all competitions). Ebbsfleet have failed to score in ten games across all competitions, five at home.

Darius Charles and Dean Pooley will need fitness tests ahead of the match. Michael Gash is apparently suspended; he would have been eligible had they played Wrexham last Saturday, but the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch. In their last game, the 3-1 defeat in the league away at Grays Athletic, Ebbsfleet lined up as:
1. Lance Cronin
2. Danny Slatter
3. Peter Hawkins
4. Dean Pooley
5. Sasha Opinel
6. Ricky Shakes
7. Neil Barrett
8. Karl Murray
9. Stacy Long
10. Michael Gash
11. Luke Moore

Celtic are in the middle of a mammoth away game stretch, and in the last matches (all away) Celtic have lost just once, to Telford. In our last match, the 2-0 win away at Hyde on Boxing Day, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Rhys Meynell
4. Richard Battersby
5. Terry Barwick
6. Barrie Keeling
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Matty Barlow
10. Lee Ellington
11. Andy Smart

With only one meeting between the two clubs, and no league data to go on, the automated prediction algorithm has suggested a 2-0 away win for Celtic. If Celtic can continue their excellent away form, and capitalise on Ebbsfleet’s current dodgy form, then this result is not unachievable. It will be very difficult, as our Cheshire Senior Cup exit at the hands of Altrincham showed, there is a qualitative difference between the Premier and the North, but as Durham and Blyth have shown, such gaps can be overcome.
Directions
Distance: 213
Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

From the M67 join the M60 towards Stockport.
After 7 miles, leave the M60 at Junction 4 (Chester, M6) to join the M56.
Stay on the M56 for 7 miles, coming off at junction 7 (Northwich, M6) to join the A556.
The roundabout can be avoided by using the slip road.
Stay on the A556 for 5 miles to the roundabout with the M6.
Join the M6 southbound (Birmingham) avoiding the roundabout by using the slip road.
Stay on the M6 for 98 miles to the junction with the M1.
Join the M1 Southbound towards London.
Stay on the M1 for 64 miles, leaving at junction 6A, signposted Harlow to join the M25.
Stay on the M25 for 42 miles going clockwise.
After crossing the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, go onto the slip road.
Do not go through Dartford Tunnel.
At the roundabout go back on yourself (exit 2 of 4) to join Cotton Lane (B2228).
Stay on Cotton Lane for half a mile to the t-junction with the A226 (London Road).
Turn left onto London Road.
After 3 1/2 miles, the ground is on the left at the bottom of the hill.
The car-park is at the far end of the ground.

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