Kevin Watson echoed the home supporters’ exasperation at seeing a lead slip on New Year’s Day, underlining Fleet’s current inability to put chances away and poor decision-making as the main reasons for the team’s undoing.
“It’s as frustrated as I’ve been,” the manager told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “We might as well have took the point each from both games and not bothered playing. The first half I thought we were excellent, the second half we were poor. Out of six draws we’ve had, we’ve been in front in five. There you go.
“We have enough experienced players to protect us. They’re throwing four up, we need to sit in. We need to track back, we don’t need to play fiddly little balls into forwards that are going to get cut out. We don’t need to start running with the ball when it needs a pass. Passing it when you can run with it. Just wrong decisions.”
Watson felt his side excelled in the first half but failed to build on their positive start and wasted the opportunities to win the game.
“Alex Reid has a golden opportunity to score the second goal, it has to go in,” he said. “That goes in, that’s the game, even at that early stage. And Gozie at the end. They didn’t really have too many clear-cut chances, we have the best two chances of the game. You don’t get six, seven, eight, nine chances. The first half was excellent, following on from the Dover second half.
“We don’t make anything easy for ourselves. The little man on their shoulder telling them one [goal’s] enough, we’ll hang on, needs to be brushed aside and told to go away. Human nature at the minute, where we are, we’re scoring and we’re thinking that’s enough.
“I’ve seen glimpses, halves and games where I know they can do it. But if you don’t do the right things for what the game needs, then you don’t get results. The free-kick, deflected… do we ever score a goal like that? No. But they’ll say they deserve it and probably on the balance of the second-half, regardless of how they’ve done it, they did.”
Aside from the chances missed to extend the 1-0 scoreline, the manager was displeased with his side’s inability to make the right decisions at the right times in the game, which invited Dagenham on in the second half.
“We were poor in terms of decision-making and game management,” he explained. “Dagenham came out in the second half and had a way of playing which was direct. Every ball that went in their half they returned it with interest and the reason we couldn’t get out was because we still wanted to be Man City today. We’re trying to overplay when they’ve got five up the top of the pitch and just smashing it at us.
“We need to be clever enough to [know] there’s space behind them and all too often we’re trying fiddly little balls into the middle, they’re getting cut out and we’re making wrong decisions, we’re slashing at things. I’ve said to them, the reason players play at higher levels is they make better decisions more often. In terms of technical ability, there isn’t an awful lot of difference. I’ve got some very good technical players but the higher you go, the more they make better decisions. We just didn’t in the second half and it literally is that simple.
“There’s no right or wrong way to play, it’s the right way for what the game dictates and in the second half to a man we didn’t make the right decisions. I’ll praise them when they need praising but we need another goal when on top.
“You can play whatever [formation] you like, but if you keep getting in front and then switching off at vital times and stop doing what you’re doing to get in front, there’s a block there, there’s got to be. 1-0’s never enough to win games of football.
“The decision-making, when to be tight to your man, when to drop off, it’s all part and parcel of being a footballer, not just when you have the ball. Out of possession today, we weren’t good enough.”