“That was a big win after Cup exit,” says Fleet boss

There might have been a danger after the efforts at Leyton Orient last week that settling back into league action would take some readjusting, but Dennis Kutrieb kept his players’ minds on the next job in hand and he was delighted with how they responded at Hungerford yesterday.

“I told the boys during the week this was the biggest test, especially after a glorious 1-0 defeat at Leyton Orient and everyone giving us big credit and [saying] well done and good play. And then you come here to Hungerford and need to deliver the basics right. That’s not easy but the boys did the basics right and to come here after the cup defeat is even more tough. So that makes me even prouder because they delivered and they gave us the answers after the FA Cup defeat.”

The boss had drummed into his players all week how difficult he expected Hungerford Town would make the Fleet’s visit – and they were prepared for the never-say-die onslaught the home side mounted throughout the 90 minutes.

And the Fleet boss was pleased with the attacking threat his team posed throughout, though understandably less excited than neutral or home observers by the final 10 minutes! “For the fans it was an amazing scoreline, for me of course not really happy!” he said with a rueful smile on the final whistle.

“We were sloppy at times and conceded easy goals. We’d stopped that but today was a day where we were a little bit sloppy in defence. They’ve got points against good teams and we knew both strikers are a big threat so we needed to be careful. But it’s a tough place where you have to come and win when you want to be successful and I would take a 4-3 win straight away. If i watch it back tomorrow, I would say we had a good performance.

“We played much better than them – without any disrespect because I really like the team, I like their teamwork together, they stay tight together everywhere on the pitch. They can be dangerous as a team, with set pieces, throw-ins, and both strikers are threats. So that’s why I said we needed to be prepared for this tough game and we were prepared. We played a good game but sometimes a little bit sloppy where I was not really happy about it.”

Nobody could argue the quality of Fleet’s goals – with two excellent team moves either side of Dominic Poleon’s terrific individual strike and Sefa Kahraman’s first goal for the club.

“As a manager you always find the the negative things because you try to make it better,” said Kutrieb. “But even the first goal was absolute class, then a set piece and great delivery from Tanner. So we scored good goals and we had a good performance in an offensive way, but as I said in defence, as a team in some areas we were not good enough. But if you score four goals you need to win and that’s what we have done.”

With Fleet 4-1 up, the final minutes appeared to be in no doubt until Hungerford’s last-ditch rally and Kutrieb agreed there was a danger in such a scoreline at such a time, that everybody thought all the work was done.

“[Hungerford] fight together as a team. I saw the game against Maidstone for example where they got the winner in the 89th, 90th minute. So I was not sure after 4-1 our game was done but I can see the bits and pieces are coming together closer and closer. The boys are really working hard but need to take care that we don’t take it for granted because if we take it for granted and we think it’s 4-1 and we have won the game, then definitely not.

“It’s pretty normal as a player [you switch off] when you’re not like a manager or a staff team where you’re always on your toes and always aware. You think the game has gone because we had them in our pockets at 3-1 and 4-1, so everyone was thinking the game is done. I think even the fans were thinking the game is done. But as you can see, football sometimes is terrible and we can be happy we didn’t concede the fourth goal. But you need to make sure you get it over the line and that’s what we have done so big credit to the boys. Don’t get [me] wrong, I’m really happy we got the three points and the win because the boys worked hard for it. They deserved to win. I’m proud of the boys but we can have it easier definitely!”

Not that the fixture schedule throws up anything easier as the season heads into winter and Kutrieb is mindful of a tough schedule ahead.

“Now we have tough weeks in the next three or four weeks,” he said. “We have many more games and a few more big tests but I think we’re in a good way at the moment. We started well then had a small little dip and the only clear defeat was Hampton. But we learned a lot out of it and sometimes it brings you a lot when you get a heavy defeat, you think we need to do better. The boys learned really quickly and I think there’s much more to come. But [the last] 10 games are gone, we can be happy and then we have to go again because Welling is a big derby for us. And we don’t take them lightly because they had some great results in the last weeks.”


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