Daryl McMahon praised a “massive three points” at a “difficult place” and one where two of his predecessors had never won before as Fleet put their January troubles well and truly behind them. The manager was particularly pleased with his side’s defensive strength and the second-half performance to come from behind to win.
“The second-half performance in particular was terrific from us,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Phil Kinsella. “I thought we lacked quality in the first-half with the ball but in terms of defending, they put us under real pressure. And in that first 20 minutes I thought we defended our box and our goal ever so well. Nathan’s made a great save from a corner from Tom Denton. The second-half performance was terrific against a side fighting for their lives, who don’t want to be in the relegation zone. It’s always a difficult place to come and it’s a massive three points for us.”
The home side were dangerous in the first half, with Fleet restricted to the odd counterattack. “We had a couple of counters ourselves that we couldn’t capitalise on but we lacked a little quality in the final third in the first half and we changed it in the second,” said McMahon.
And the change that proved crucial was the introduction of new boy Corey Whitely, who became the first Fleet player to score on his debut since Jack Powell netted against Poole Town in August 2016.
“It was difficult for him,” McMahon explained. “He only didn’t start because he only trained with us yesterday and travelled up with the boys yesterday so we just thought we’d get him on at the earliest chance we could, to get him into the group straight away. And obviously scoring the goal is a great way to start and a great way to be accepted by the players and the fans. They see straight away how he had a big impact in the second half. ”
And Whitely could have made it a two-goal debut when he rounded goalkeeper Sam Johnson late on but was denied by a foul in an exciting climax to the game.
“In injury time, you see in the box there was a couple of blocks, people throwing themselves on the line,” McMahon said. “But we also had chances ourselves at the other end. We could have maybe scored again.”