Daryl McMahon inspired his troops at half-time with a little bit of flattery to remind them that even with 10 men he believed in their ability to see through that second-half against Welling United.
“I said to them at half-time there’s not a team I’d rather be manager of going down to 10 men with the fitness levels and the togetherness we have and I think I was proved right,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole. “We started the game quite brightly and got a goal again. But going down to 10 men changed the complexion of the game totally. To go to 1-1 and bounce back in the time we had left, to still try to be creative going forward, was incredible.”
The Fleet boss didn’t get a great view of the incident that led to Dave Winfield’s sending-off and said he would look at video evidence before commenting further. “It was difficult to see in real time. Dave said he put his arm up as you do when you go to jump for the ball and head it, so we’ll have a look at it.”
And McMahon believes the Fleet’s blend of developing youth and experienced heads is proving to be the right formula for the Fleet of late. “With five minutes to go, I was looking at Powelly thinking it’s a great learning curve for him,” McMahon said, “in that environment with the crowd, in a derby. He’s only going to get better. Jack Connors, too, he came on today and was outstanding. We’ve got some great young players developing alongside some great experience. It’s a nice little blend and I’m hoping we can get better as the season goes on.
“Bradley Bubb’s hardly played for us this year but I can’t tell you how good his attitude’s been. With his application, he deserved that today when he went and set the goal up and that’s testament to how he works every day with us.”
Fleet face league pacesetters Maidenhead United next, at Stonebridge Road, but McMahon is willing to let the dust settle on a tempestuous afternoon before he approaches that one. “We’ll settle down after this one and turn to that on Monday morning. We know they’re a good side, a good manager, [Dave] Tarpey’s on fire for them – but we’re a good side as well.”