watson-lewis

Watson pleased with Fleet resilience

Kevin Watson will take his side north again next Saturday with just two points separating the Fleet from a season’s high of 21st place after they won their fourth game in seven.

The reverse at Chesterfield, last week’s late defeat at Stockport and the FA Trophy exit to Royston Town have perhaps disguised the fact that Fleet’s points return has been a healthy 14 since the end of January.

And Watson thought his side were resilient in the face of a good, confident Hartlepool United side.

“Our performance against a Hartlepool team in form who have been doing extremely well, who play good football, I thought was resilient,” he said. “They carried out what we asked them to carry out almost to the letter. Jordan has made a couple of decent saves but I don’t think he has made any that you wouldn’t expect him to apart from the shot that was deflected when he was going one way and he’s managed to spin and go back the other way, I thought that was an outstanding save.”

Fleet’s winner came via the penalty spot to hand Gozie Ugwu his 13th goal this season and his third in as many matches but Watson wasn’t 100% clear on the award of it.

“The penalty, some days you’ll get them, some you won’t,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I’ll have to look at it again. Whether it was or it wasn’t, at this moment in time I’m not actually fussed and obviously Gozie’s a very good penalty taker and took it exceptionally well.”

With Adam Mekki back at Bromley, the Fleet boss was forced to shuffle his midfield but his back three of Wilson-King-Grimes once again proved redoubtable.

“We’ve played three at the back in a 3-5-2 with wing backs,” Watson explained. “Hartlepool used the ball well and they were always going to outnumber us down the side but what I was pleased with was we defended the crosses which were inevitably going to come into your box when they play two v ones.

“But I don’t remember them hardly coming through the middle of us which is what we set out to do. We defend crosses, I wanted to keep three in the middle of the pitch and I wanted to keep two up top because draws are no good to us now. We need to win.

“We’re never going to be – at this moment in time – like a Man City or a Liverpool and play teams off the park. It’s not like that when you’re scrapping for your lives. We play when we can.”

Fleet had to withstand nine minutes of additional time and Watson underlined the fact that any delay in the game was the last thing he and his players would have gambled on.

“It’s mixed emotions but I’m obviously very pleased with the result. I nor my team wouldn’t, while we’re winning, have wanted any sort of delay to add any more time on to the game,” he said. “We were under pressure and the last thing we wanted was nine minutes added time. 

“I can’t comment on all that, I’ve been into the match officials with [Hartlepool boss] Dave [Challinor] and they followed the protocol.”

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First-Team Squad
Goalkeepers
  • Tom HADLER
  • Jordan HOLMES
Defenders
  • Tobi ADEBAYO-ROWLING
  • Jake GOODMAN
  • Sefa KAHRAMAN
Midfielders
  • Iffy ALLEN
  • Ben CHAPMAN
  • Alfie EGAN
  • Alex EIRICH
  • Lee MARTIN
  • Adam MEKKI
  • Josh PAYNE
  • Michael WEST
Strikers
  • tbc