Ebbsfleet United boss Kevin Watson hits back at Hartlepool United fans' criticism following racist abuse allegations

Ebbsfleet manager Kevin Watson has hit back at the ‘negative comments’ from Hartlepool United’s supporters following his side’s 1-0 win at Victoria Park.

Gozie Ugwu’s late penalty helped the Fleet claim a much needed three points in their battle to avoid the drop.

The match was marred by allegations of racist and xenophobic abuse which remain under investigation as well as post-match trouble which saw Pools boss Dave Challinor and Ebbsfleet defender Ayo Obileye sent off.

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Hartlepool fans directed their frustrations at the Ebbsfleet players during the match and many took to Twitter afterwards to make their feelings known.

And in response to the criticism of his side, Watson told Kent Online: “I think we’ve been given stick and comments have been aimed at us that would not happen with one of my teams.

“I’ve seen a lot of negative comments from the opposition [fans] about my players – calling us various things – but I’d never send one of my sides out like that.

“It’s not nice and we don’t want any more negative publicity towards our club.

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“The things I’ve seen about time-wasting really didn’t happen. If the ball goes out behind the goal and there are no supporters there then it’s going to take a while to come back – Jordan [Holmes] doesn’t need to run for it.

“The boys that went down with injuries were legitimate injuries. If time-wasting is being clever by keeping the ball in the corner and playing it off your opponent’s legs for a throw-in, then I call that good game management.”

Three Ebbsfleet players were booked for timewasting during the match with Jermaine McGlashan seeing yellow for heading a ball thrown to him back at the crowd. The Kent outfit have been charged seven times with failing to control their players since the start of last season.

On Obileye’s sending off, Watson added: “One of their fans went on the pitch and was going to confront Ayo.

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“He celebrated the win, perhaps he shouldn’t have done it in front of them, but they’ve given us stick throughout the game and it’s a show of emotion.

“No supporter should ever enter the field of play – that’s completely not on.”