Daryl McMahon insisted his side must find a killer instinct after Fleet were forced to settle for a draw at Crabble. While it maintains his players’ unbeaten away record this season, the Fleet boss might have hoped for three points after his side broke the deadlock in the first half and then enjoyed the bulk of ball possession in the second half.
“We went with a younger team tonight to give some people an opportunity and I think we probably did lack that killer instinct a little bit,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Gerrard. “But I’m delighted we’ve had Darren back and getting a goal which is a massive plus for us.”
And the boss refused to pin Dover’s goal on the withdrawal of Dave Winfield for an injury just before the home side equalised.
“[Connor] Essam wasn’t his man so a player was already assigned to Essam who lost him,” McMahon side.
Fleet made five changes, including dropping Danny Kedwell and Andy Drury to the bench, with the manager feeling those two had played a lot of football inside a month.
“We gave him [Kedwell] a rest,” said McMahon. “He’s 35, he’s played eight games in a short period of time, the same as Jukesy and you’re bringing in good players in Cheek and McQueen and Powell tonight.”
Asked whether the sheer number of games in the first two months was a concern, McMahon echoed what most of his contemporaries at other clubs have been saying,
“I think it’s too much for the amount of injuries you incur,” he said. “I’m sure if you go through every manager in our division, they’ll all have some sort of muscular injury now. Coming into this stage of the season, off the back of pre-season, players generally aren’t match-fit yet. To put them through that kind of regime is incredible really when you’ve got Premier League athletes who are better than our athletes [in terms of] nutrition, training ground, etc, what they’ve got. We haven’t got that at our level and they wouldn’t put them through it so I don’t see why we should have to but it is what it is.”
Par of McMahon’s reshuffle was enforced, with Ebou Adams away with Gambia on international duty and Myles Weston to follow this weekend for Antigua. But McMahon won’t use that as an excuse.
“It’s part and parcel of it, ” he said. “We’ll get on with it. We’ve got enough players.”
Fleet now have 14 points from nine games and lie in 11th place. The manager would like a few more points on the board but is largely satisfied with how his side have performed in 2018/19
“There’s been lots of good stuff for us. I think we could have more points on the board than we have but you look on paper, we’ve had a very difficult start and I’m sure we’ll get stronger as the season goes on. We’ve got more points than this stage last year so we’re doing a bit better.
“It’s hard to tell this early when the games are just thrown together so quickly. I think it’ll probably settle down a little bit later, October maybe. At this stage of the season, people look at the league table and see somebody’s down there which means they’re rubbish but it doesn’t mean that at all. The season’s just getting started and it’s a long season.”
Listen to the interview below.