Going in at the break a goal and a man down might have buckled some changing rooms.
But in the Fleet camp, Dennis Kutrieb and his staff simply told the players to roll up their sleeves and meet the challenge.
“I asked the boys at half-time if they love challenges,” Kutrieb said in his post-match assessment. “After two minutes, we’re down 1-0. There was no reason, it doesn’t make sense to concede such a goal so early. Then the 45th minute a red card, a hard decision from the linesman. I asked him if he’s 100% sure. I watched the video so for me it’s a very, very hard decision.
“But it is what it is, that is football, so we have to work with it. I asked the boys to win this game because I don’t want to stay here all the time and say we were the better team but we didn’t get the points. The most important thing is that you get the three points. We played a massive game, we were really good [as a] team and we played really good stuff.”
Hungerford hadn’t conceded a goal in three games but Fleet put three past them today in an epic 10-man fightback and the manager was aware of the threat they posed.
“We had to be prepared for a very physical game,” said Kutrieb. “I think we were ready because [the players] showed us a great fight today and we told the boys from the beginning of the week, every day, they play long balls, try to get the second balls, try to get in behind and their number nine was the one to score goals, and so we had to be prepared for it.
“The second half, a few times they played a little bit of football, because they were one man more. But I don’t care about the the opponent; for me it was very important that we showed what we’re able to do on the pitch and I’m very happy to see such a game, especially in the second-half today.”
The boss also praised the contribution of his returning skipper, with Lee Martin firing home the equaliser and laying the ball on for Boby-Joe Taylor’s winner.
“He’s an excellent captain – from the first day he showed that he’s a leader,” said Kutrieb. “After four or five days, I made the clear decision that he’s my captain and my skipper because he says exactly what you want as a manager on the pitch. There’s someone else who can push the boys, because they need it.
“We have a young team, we can’t forget they are very young. Of course they are very enthusiastic, they want to play football, they want to break walls and everything else but you have to be focused. You don’t have to concede easy goals like we did, especially the second goal – you never can concede such a goal. So we have to learn quickly, because when you want to be top of the table, you can’t concede such easy goals.”
And from Martin to the match-winner, Taylor, the Fleet manager also had words of praise for the former Maidstone and Dover man.
“You can see he’s a great character as well. He doesn’t want to lose. You can see in front of me and in front of the stand here that he’s working the line up and down. He really fights for a goal or for getting opportunities to score. I’m very pleased with his performance today. But I saw a great team today. All of them gave us a great fight with 10 boys.”