Daryl McMahon was pleased his players “did what they had to do” to eke out a win in a game the manager admitted wasn’t exactly a classic.
Speaking to BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole, McMahon said: “At the end we were a bit loose with a couple of counterattacks that we could have killed the game off with but other than that it was a good performance in a typical derby. It probably wasn’t a great spectacle… raining, slide tackles, yellow cards, it was one of them and we did what we had to do.
“It was very important to get the win. We weren’t as good as we should have been at Dartford. In the end I thought two mistakes on our part cost us that game rather than anything Dartford really did to us and I thought we owed a performance today. Defensively, Winfield, Clarkey and Phillips were terrific and Ashmore as well.”
Fleet’s moment of quality in the first half saw Jack Powell set up Bradley Bubb, minutes after Bubb had missed a sitter. “He should have scored, obviously, it was a good move as well,” McMahon conceded. “But he kept his confidence and got in the area to score again in nigh-on the same position to be fair to him and that’s what all good strikers do. They don’t go missing. And Jack’s a very, very controlled player in most things. The game seems to stop when he gets the ball and he picked Bradley out well.”
Bubb replaced Darren McQueen in the starting lineup and McMahon said he’d reserved his young striker for a run from the bench once Fleet were in front. “At their place, they defended so deep there was no space and I thought once we went a goal up there’d be more space for Darren to get into,” McMahon said. “We didn’t get him in enough probably and like I said the final pass wasn’t great today.”
The boss also praised Andy Drury’s contribution and says he expects even more from the midfielder in 2017. “Everyone knows how good a footballer he is. He’s two or three passes ahead of everyone and in the coming weeks I think we’ll start to see him control games even more once players get used to him and his style of play and he gets used to the players as well but he’s settled in really well. It’s hectic in this league in the middle of the pitch, especially when somebody’s as good as him, they are going to press him so he has to get used to that and he will. It’s about other players balancing off him. As a manager you like to have someone on the pitch who can think like you because you can’t always get every bit of information across and I think Jukesy has that. He sees things that I probably see and he can help me on the pitch by doing what I would have done.”
And McMahon saved his final praise for the home supporters who were in good voice, packed into the Northfleet End and in the new stand. “The crowd were brilliant today, they were brilliant at Dartford as well,” said the manager. “The facilities here are brilliant and once it’s done in a couple of months it will be outstanding. and hopefully we can match the stadium and what’s happening at the club on the pitch.”
Listen to the full interview below.