Daryl McMahon hailed his side’s character as the Fleet made it three wins out of three in Kent derbies at the Kuflink Stadium this season. And the manager was delighted that it was Andy Drury who was on hand to convert the winner deep into stoppage time.
“I was delighted he scored and I was delighted it was him as well,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole. “He’s a player that, sometimes, I hear moaning on the terraces when he gives the ball away and he’s a phenomenal footballer at this level. His brain is 10 minutes ahead of everyone else’s sometimes and that’s his problem but he’s been terrific for me for 18 months.
“My team’s got unbelievable character. People talk about other things and they ignore how much character the team’s got. We were awesome today, absolutely awesome to a man, every single one of them including the lads who haven’t been playing very much. I was very, very proud of them today to put that performance in and they showed brilliant character.”
And the Fleet boss felt the penalty that threatened to spoil the afternoon was a soft one. “I thought it wasn’t a penalty – the lad went over fairly easily but that happens in football these days and he’s earned the penalty rather than it being a penalty. I thought it would have been a travesty if we didn’t win today, I thought we were by far the better team.
“I thought we had too many players on the pitch that could create things. I don’t know how many shots we had in the first half but it would be in double figures. I thought we were excellent. We’ve got a busy month; we’ve had a quiet March with two games in a month and it’s a great game for us today to start [April] off at home against local rivals and produce that performance.”
Given the month ahead, McMahon would still not be drawn into a conversation about play-offs, preferring to concentrate only on the next game in a busy run of very tough fixtures.
“I’m not really looking at it,” he said. “If we can finish higher, brilliant. But you look at the fixtures we’ve got coming up and we’ve got some tough games: Macclesfield, Wrexham, we’ve got to go to Barrow, got to go to Gateshead and Torquay, really tough games. Sutton have got to come here as well. But we’ll take each one as it comes. There’s no pressure on us, I think we can probably upset a few teams in the play-off positions. We can play with a freedom that maybe the other teams can’t and we’ll be playing on that a little bit as well; we’ve got to thrive on that sort of environment.
“We’ve got 17 players for the rest of the season so we’ll probably have to minimise what we do on the training pitch to save legs and energy but it’s nothing we can’t manage. I think as a group we’ve always had a winning mentality from my two and a half, three years. We’ve won plenty of games of football in that time. And that won’t change, we’ll try and do it the same way for the rest of the season and where we end up we’ll end up.
“Dover are four years ahead of us in terms of being in this league. Ten months we’ve been in the league and now we have to build on that and make sure we keep progressing as a club on and off the pitch which is key. It takes time to assess this league and what it’s about and you learn or you don’t and I think we’re learning.”
And the manager also praised the fans who he said got right behind his team from the first whistle: “I think the crowd today created a great environment for us. They were behind the team from minute one. Behind the goal they were terrific, singing for the whole game, and they got what they deserved as well.”
Listen to the full interview below.