A first 45 minutes that was “not good enough” was the difference between the teams on Tuesday night, said Fleet boss Dennis Kutrieb.
He praised his side’s second-half efforts, with the visitors firing eight shots on target and 10 off to Dorking’s five and six respectively but acknowledged that without taking those opportunities, it handed the initiative to their opponents once they opened the scoring.
“When you don’t score and the opponent does and then the time’s running and you have to try and come back, [that’s the difference],” said Kutrieb.
“We lost the game in the first 45 minutes. They were a little bit sharper than us in the beginning, the second goal was typical [of what’s going against us] at the moment. You can never concede such a goal, first the set-piece and then the goal. But it’s football, it happened. We showed some great fight in the second half, did many things right and created good chances but we can’t forget you have to take the lead with Reece Grant’s big chance. I would say nine out of 10 times he would score. But he didn’t score and that’s football, it is what it is.”
Josh Payne departed the field 10 minutes from the break to be replaced by Will Wood and the manager said a knock played the main part in that decision-making.
“It was a small injury problem,” explained Kutrieb. “We didn’t know exactly how long he could go. He said he was fine but that’s what you say when you play every three days and that’s why you need a big squad. So he went off today but also I had different thoughts about our left side with Woody as we weren’t sharp enough in the first 15 minutes with their right winger. He did really well and we didn’t mark him tight enough and that was a problem.
“Late in the game we did it well but you can’t concede goals when you want to win against such a strong opponent.
“The team showed good character and I’m happy about the second half and how they fight and tried to get back into the game. Three days after a tough game against Dartford they played the second half with such high effort which is what I want to see. But of course you can’t be happy when you lose 2-0 and we were not good enough in the first 45 minutes.”
And Kutrieb refused to accept confidence as the sole issue for Fleet failing to take their chances as he backed his players to come good in that department.
“You can see the team has high quality and work their socks off every game. I don’t know if it’s [just] confidence. Sometimes you have more luck, sometimes less luck. If you keep working then you’ll get the luck and with a bit more luck we would have won this game. I know that’s crazy and people will tell me I’m not normal but that’s football. If you saw Maidstone here last year, they got one goal and they go on to get a second goal.
“We played 45 minutes in their half and I’m sure if we’d got one goal we would have got more. You need that little bit of luck. Some people will say it’s quality but I can see in training sessions and other games that we are able to score. What the boys need now is that they get the feeling we believe they are good enough and we don’t talk about not having quality or whatever because I am sure they have the quality. For a striker you need that moment where you score one goal and then you score more.”
Fleet have an inactive weekend once more with this Saturday scheduled as our one of two blank weekends that every club in the division has due to an odd number of teams this season. Concord Rangers are next up on Tuesday night but Kutrieb is thinking about correcting the wrongs of this week’s game before he sets about next week’s.
“I don’t care about next Tuesday at the moment,” he said. “We have to recover now and look back to this game today, where we did good and bad, where we need to improve. We have a few days and then we see what we will do against Concord [because that] will be a completely different game and we need other abilities in that game.”