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“We had to get some reward”

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Garry Hill was satisfied with the point his side carved out against Notts County but admitted to mixed feelings with the possibility of a win tantalisingly close in the final minutes of Saturday’s game.

“As much as I wanted to win here today, the number one thing was making sure we had some reward for the performance and the hard work we put in,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I’ll probably drive home and have mixed feelings about this and that. But the run we’ve been on, you could see today that we didn’t warrant, with our commitment and performances, our position in the league table. I do feel we’ll move away from that area quite quickly.

“We’ll look at this as a point gained because we’re moving in the right direction, hopefully to start. It’s nice to get something on the board.”

Much as the result was the least the Fleet deserved, Hill acknowledged that at last his side benefitted from a little piece of good fortune as well.

“I felt we got a little bit of the rub of the green in the way the second goal has come our way. It was a big question for us to answer with Notts County having such a good following and on a hot day but we dug in deep and the signs were there where we nearly equalised straight afterwards. But I think at that time we thoroughly deserved it and I felt it was us who were really going for it. There were shots and efforts which didn’t quite go in the back of the net. 

“I’d like to think you can [see the improvement game on game]. We had an enjoyable Q&A meeting on Thursday night, there was a lot of freshness that came out of it. And a freshness as well today with the supporters getting behind the team and you could see the reaction at the end there. We are up and running and we want to try and build on that but I think it’s done us the world of good.”

There were two debuts for this week’s new signings and Frankie Sutherland endeared himself instantly to Fleet fans in the 20 or so minutes he played.

“He’s a good player,” Hill said of the former Bromley man. “He got 11 goals from 40 games in midfield last year, whether he takes penalties or not. Alex [Lawless] has been under the weather, he hasn’t been fit over the last two or three weeks and it was a good replacement. But I thought Alex did well in there as well today. I can’t look at anybody who started the game or who came on in the game and say they didn’t play their part.

“We made substitutions, Bondz [N’Gala] did well at the back and he is a bit short at the moment of match fitness. It’s a big turnaround with two games in 48 hours and I was aware of that for Bondz and Alex Lawless. Josh [Umerah] worked very hard and looked powerful and strong up front and to fetch Gozie [Ugwu] on at that time and have him and Myles Weston and Shieldsy up front, I felt we showed a very positive attitude for a team where we’re sitting in the league.

“You’ve got to go for it when you’re in a position where we are, you can either be nervous as a manager and put everybody behind the ball or you come out fighting. We will always fight under my leadership but I’m very pleased for the supporters who witnessed a great game of football by both sides. It was played in a very competitive spirit and certainly a good, entertaining game.”

But the debutant who perhaps garnered the most attention was goalkeeper Jordan Holmes, who came in for Nathan Ashmore. Hill revealed more on that talking point by saying:

“As far as I’m concerned with Nathan Ashmore he’s not fit. That’s all I would say on that at the moment. I don’t think he’s fit and I don’t think his performances have been good enough in respect of over the first five games.

“People have seen the games as well as I have and I’ve had to make a decision which you do as a football manager. I’ve made that decision and on the day, none of the goals were down to the [new] goalkeeper at all. I thought his kicking was very good and he looked comfortable and we’ve gone about our job.

“We’ve picked a formation and a team out there and I think over the 90 minutes it was very encouraging, not only the team that was selected but we were still in a position to be brave to go and win the game with three forwards for the last 15 minutes. On another day we might have got that break.”

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