Daryl McMahon leapt into the air as Corey Whitely’s equaliser hit the back of the net on Tuesday night and the Fleet boss was adamant it was the least his side deserved on a night when it appeared they might yet again be frustrated by a single goal.
And McMahon felt the late Fleet strike was just reward for the visitors’ first-half display and dominant possession of the ball against a team much fancied to be in the race for promotion.
“We should have had all three [points] and I thought we were absolutely outstanding tonight,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “The first-half performance was probably the best since I’ve been a manager at this club. To come to the biggest club in the division and I thought we absolutely dominated, properly dominated, played unbelievable football. I’m proud as punch of them tonight with that performance. They had a couple of counterattacks. We had a few as well but in terms of dominating the football, it was us.
“I don’t think anyone could have complained if we had of won the game tonight with the chances we had. The way we played as well was pleasing, something that’s really important to me that we play the right style of football and I thought we were superb. They didn’t get the result they deserved but you keep playing like that, you will.”
The Fleet manager again felt his side were a little short in the clinical department, with chances not put to bed, but he knows that will come with the players at his disposal.
“It was probably the same as Saturday,” he said. “The performance tonight was a lot better than Saturday but the actual chances we created were phenomenal but not taken. Again, I keep saying that, as long as we create them, they’ll eventually go in. We know we’ve got many, many good players who can score goals and I’m sure they will.”
With pundits already analysing the table after 180 minutes and attempting to sort the runners and riders two games in, the Fleet boss is having none of that and takes little notice of who’s winning what at this stage of the season.
“It takes time,” he said. “It’s the start of the season – some teams get off to a flyer, some teams start slowly. Anybody here tonight watching us play must have gone away and thought we’ll be up the top end of the table at the end of season. We’ve come here, like I said, to the biggest team in the division, a team that will be fancied to win the title, and we’ve totally and utterly dominated. Saturday I was probably a little bit frustrated because we’ve seen that performance from July 1st until Saturday against Chesterfield. We’ve been that good. I think now we need to maintain our standard across the season.”
Darren McQueen started his first game since September and showed bundles of energy, while Ebou Adams kept his head in a sometimes hostile environment and McMahon backed his players for their display.
“I thought [Darren] was excellent,” he said. “He’s been good in training. He’s a terrific player, he’s quick, he was terrific tonight and Jack Powell was absolutely outstanding, Shieldsy in that wing-back role terrific. Ebou was very mature, I thought he was magnificent. We took him off as we needed to get a goal and I thought Powell and Drury were dominating in the middle of the pitch and Whitely would add something that little bit different.”
Pressed on the likelihood of comings and goings as the EFL transfer window is poised to snap shut, McMahon said there was nothing in his plans either way.
“We’re OK at the minute. We’ve got Dave Winfield and Clarky back in the next week, we’ve got Rance back in the next week, so we’re all right and nobody will be leaving. We’re strong at the minute and we want to keep the squad together.”
Listen to the interview below.