Fleet goalscorer Jack King was celebrating at both ends of the pitch this afternoon as his goal kick-started a win over the league leaders and then his shift at the back contributed to a clean sheet, too.
“We like to think as a team if we’re at it we can beat anyone in the league and we’ve shown that today,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “The league leaders have come here, we’ve had to ride our luck at times and Ash has made some good saves but I think all in all we’ve probably deserved the win and that’s what we’ve got.”
It was King’s first goal for the club he joined in the summer, though as a midfielder he previously scored plenty for the likes of Didcot Town, Farnborough and Woking. But that’s not been a requirement of late with his striking colleagues in a rich vein of form.
“I’ve not scored as many as I’d have liked,” he said. “It’s not our job necessarily to score the goals, especially with the front boys banging them in like they are but it’s always nice to get goals from elsewhere. We’ve got a couple in the back four today and the boys haven’t been letting us down previously with Cheeky, Cody, Keds and Corey smashing them in. It’s important to get goals from all areas of the pitch, you can’t just rely on the front boys but the clean sheet’s more important.”
It’s a far cry from the aftermath of defeat at Wrexham which saw King dropped from the matchday squad for several weeks, but the defender is simply pleased he has taken his chance to shine once more.
“You’ve got to hold your hands up when you’ve not played well,” he said. “I had no arguments with being dropped after the Wrexham game. There was a number of us that did get dropped and deservedly so but what can you do as a footballer? You get your head down and you work hard and you wait for your chance. And when your chance comes you have to take it and I’d like to think that’s what I’ve done. The gaffer’s come in and given me my chance and we’ve been pretty solid back there now in the previous couple of months.
“Since the gaffer’s come in, we’ve lifted ourselves. There’s no doubt we were under-achieving previously. It doesn’t fall back on the previous management, it falls back on the players as well. We’ve got to take responsibility for that. We’ve dusted ourselves down and all we can do is keep going, keep trying to pick up as many points as we can and see where that takes us.”
And King says a more direct style is paying off for his colleagues, with a higher defensive line allowing King and his teammates to attack the ball and contain strikers further up the pitch.
“We play a bit more of a direct style under this management,” he explained. “We’re higher up the pitch as a defence, we’re not necessarily getting [the ball] off Ash or whoever’s back there and it’s paying dividends. As a result, we’re conceding less chances so there’s been a good understanding. We’re pretty thin on the ground with regards to the back players and I think that shows. We’ve got a good understanding between the lads that play there, whether it’s me, Lawrie or me and Mags, me and Bushy, whoever, me and Dave. We’ve got what we’ve got and you can see there’s an understanding there. Everyone knows each other’s games and when one person makes a mistake, the other one’s round him and that’s how it should be.
“I’ve worked with the gaffer before. He works the way I like, he’s straight down the line, he’s honest with you. You can knock on his door and he’ll be honest with you. If he doesn’t think you should be playing, he’ll tell you. And vice versa, if he wants you in the team, he’ll have you in the team no matter who you are. I think you can see from the bench today there’s competition all over the pitch and that’s showing. Everyone’s upping their levels and it’s pushing us and that’s a big factor as to why we’re picking up so many points.”
Team spirit has got Fleet this far and the former Stevenage defender believes that given what the players have conquered already this season, the sky’s the limit.
“Since I came into the group, we only had a few additions, there’s always been a good team spirit,” he said. “The things that go on off the field, it’s important that we have got that otherwise with a lesser team spirit, we could have crumbled. But the lads are galvanised, our heads are together and there’s only one thing we want and that’s promotion and that’s what we’re pushing for.”