Dennis Kutrieb was determined to see his side into Monday’s hat for the Fourth Qualifying Round draw, having missed out by a single penalty kick in his first season in English football in 2020/21. And Kieran Monlouis’ strike did just that – not for the first time a Kutrieb substitution has justified the decision with a goal this season.
“It was a really important win for us today,” the Fleet boss told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “You always want to be in a draw. It’s a terrible feeling when you see a draw and you’re not involved, so of course you always want to be involved. We needed to make sure today that we are involved and we stay in the hat and that’s the most important thing for today.
“We knew before that it was a tough place to come. They had confidence from their last games and had a great cup run. The FA Cup is always special as you could see. If you ask me if I’m happy, yes I’m happy. Could we have scored more goals? Yes, definitely, but I think the opponent has one chance very late in the game, a half chance, and then we had lots of chances. As I said to the boys, the most important thing in the FA Cup is staying in the hat and that’s what we have done and I’m really delighted.”
After a rain-sodden affair on Tuesday night, there was little time to dry out for the Fleet squad as the skies opened for the duration of this one, too.
“It was very hard because of the rain, now the second time in a row after Chippenham on Tuesday and today again,” Kutrieb conceded. “But it is what it is, it’s football. If there’s rain, you need to play football in it. If snow, then you play in snow, so it’s no reason to complain. It’s for everyone the same and it’s no problem at all.
“Hopefully we’ve come through today without injuries, we’ll see tomorrow how everyone feels. At the moment it looks not too bad so that’s the most important thing after a win.”
On the subject of injuries, Kutrieb was able to welcome back Alex Finney and matchwinner Monlouis for their debuts, while Will Wood also returned as a late substitute.
“We have a good squad,” he said. “As you can see now with Kieran Monlouis, he is getting fit day by day and week by week. I’m really happy for him that he’s got a goal – he was not on the teamsheet since the first games and now he’s back and scored straight away. Woody was back today on the pitch, Alex Finney with his debut and I was very happy with him as well. We didn’t concede, that was the most important thing for today. We said we don’t want to concede a goal and I think from from this point we can continue.
“Since pre-season we don’t make any changes in our squad. We know today and we knew since the first day when everyone was in that we have a strong squad. Of course we need to maintain everyone and we need to make sure that everyone is fit when we need them and that’s what we’ve tried to do since since the first day and so far it looks good.”
Progress in the FA Cup means Fleet will have to reschedule the home league game against Maidstone United and next week they face a fifth successive away trip – to Slough Town – and potentially a sixth depending how the draw pans out. However, the manager says that Fleet supporters help make the away experience much like a home game anyway!
“Home or away, it doesn’t matter because the dugouts are not much different so it’s not a big deal for me,” he said. “But for the players, if they have a good pitch to play away, of course it helps a lot. Even today with this poor rain and far away from home again, we had so many supporters and that of course helped the boys because they see, ‘Wow they drive a long time for us’, so of course they want to give a little bit more perhaps. It’s only a mindset and it’s a small thing but I love to play at home and I think the boys love it as well. But it doesn’t matter – we want to win our games, it doesn’t matter if we are home or away, we put the ball in the back of the net, don’t concede and win the games.
“Slough is a completely different approach, they play on 3G and we really need to make sure we are aware of their strengths. But when we bring everything on the pitch that we have at the moment together with the confidence and the awareness to not concede goals, we have a good chance to continue our wins.”