Drenched, bedraggled but unbowed, Fleet’s now familiar post-match congregation on the pitch wasn’t going to let ‘a bit’ of rain stop it as Jake Goodman’s second-half brace reversed the visitors’ fortunes.
For Dennis Kutrieb, if he didn’t understand the eye rolls when ‘English weather’ is mentioned, he surely does now after an autumnal blast in Wiltshire that made the second half a sodden, uphill battle for both sides.
“English football, English weather… so totally wet!” said Kutrieb as rain poured on to gloomy stands at Chippenham without let up following his side’s 2-1 win. “Very heavy conditions second half so big credit to the boys. But we were very unhappy after 45 minutes, we started heavy in the game with an easy mistake again and conceded an easy goal. But they showed the right reaction in the second half and scored two goals, so especially for those conditions big credits for them.”
Fleet came out with much more purpose in the second-half and the players had been left in no doubt what was required to wrestle back control from their hosts following some robust half-time encouragement!
“Sometimes it’s necessary and sometimes you have to find the right words,” said the Fleet boss. “Of course with the language barrier I can’t voice exactly the words I would use in Germany so it’s tough for me as well but I think today it was the reaction from my voice because they could feel I was very unhappy. Sometimes in football, that’s necessary.”
There was determination among the Fleet squad to take the three points after Chippenham’s penalty shootout win at the Kuflink Stadium had ended the club’s interest in this season’s Emirates FA Cup and if the first-half wasn’t to Kutrieb’s liking, the reaction in the second was more along the lines of what he’d asked for.
“I thought we would do it but as you can see in the first-half, it was not enough,” he said. “After the FA Cup, losing that game, I wanted to see a reaction from the first minute so from that point of view, it was not good enough in the first half. But the bottom line is we won the game and we get three points and especially in the second half, the boys showed us they really wanted to have the three points in these heavy conditions.”
Jake Goodman’s double turned things around and it meant a happy birthday for Fleet’s head of performance Lee Taylor.
“We can see [Jake’s] good in the air,” said Kutrieb. “He’s able to score goals, he’s able to defend. It was an unbelievable header and that’s his strength. We knew before that we would use that today and we had to use it today so a great performance from him.
“And all the best to [LT], he’s done a really great job up to now, so we’ll celebrate the birthday with him a little bit. I told the boys we have to win this game because everyone wants to have three points for his birthday.”
There’s another big week for the Fleet ahead with double derbies against Maidstone United and Tonbridge Angels coming up, the first local clashes of Kutrieb’s tenure – something the Ebbsfleet manager enjoyed a lot more of in Berlin’s regional leagues.
“I’m really looking forward to it because all derbies are really special games, they’re all different and you have to be prepared for it,” he said. “So in England it’s my first [derby] game and I’m really looking forward to it. But I know from Berlin it’s always very very tough, and now we know that we have two tough games. But for today we’re celebrating three points and after tomorrow’s rest, Monday’s focus is for the next game.”
• You can purchase livestreaming for the Maidstone and Tonbridge games now on our platform here. Codes will be sent out to season-ticket holders tomorrow (Monday) for Tuesday night’s game.