By Manvir Rai
Graham Alexander was left to rue missed opportunities as Fleetwood Town’s play-off credentials took another blow after conceding an 89th minute goal to lose 1-0 against Wycombe at Adams Park.
The Cod Army were left deflated after a solid and positivecperformance which resulted in a defeat. Town were hoping for three points tocreignite their play-off push with the season drawing to a conclusion but this result means that the Cod Army now sit in 9th position and five points behindcthe play-off places.
Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander was left to ponderchow his side failed to secure all three points, let alone come away with nothing. There was no excuses from a deflated Alexander but admitted that lack of decisiveness in front of goal cost his team. “It was a massive blow for us today because I thought we did enough to win the game. We created numerous chances and didn’t take them and then we concede right at the end. It wasn’t down to luck, it was down to us not taking our chances and not defending that corner right at the end.”
Graham Alexander acknowledged that his side lost momentum in the second half and consequently gave Wycombe the impetus to try and grab something from the game – which they dramatically did. “We weren’t doing things that we were doing in the first half that made us in control of the game. We gave them encouragement to force themselves forward and let them get back into it.”
A lapse of concentration proved costly for Alexander’s men and was swift to point out that failure to remain focused will result in punishment. “ The game is about 90 minutes or 95 now and we haven’t done it for 95 and we’ve been punished for it and it’s disappointing because overall I thought we did enough but it’s something that we have to take on board and we have to go again next week.”
Graham Alexander duly noted that lack of predatorily instinct in front of goal was one of the major factors why Town went on to lose the game. “We created good options, we had good movement, we got into good positions and produced good crosses but we just didn’t take the opportunities that were we creating. If you don’t take your chances you put yourself under more pressure and one mistake can cost you the game.”
Another sour point for Graham Alexander was that striker Steven Gillespie was substituted before half-time because of a niggling hamstring grievance. It will be bitterly disappointing for Gillespie having just returned from injury. “He came off with some sort of hamstring injury and we will have to see how he is on Monday.”
Gillespie’s replacement was David Ball who was then later substituted and replaced by Jean-Michelle Fontaine. Alexander stated that Ball’s substitution was strategic because Fontaine carries power and prowess in the air as his side chased an equaliser. Alexander also praised Parkin for his performance. “Ball’s substitution was tactical because I thought Parky (Jon Parkin) had done really well today, he was not only attacking but also defending. Towards the end of the game we wanted to get Michelle on because he has extra height and strength and that was what we needed.”
A notable absentee in Town’s starting line-up was consistent captain Rob Atkinson but the centre-half was demoted to the bench and goalkeeper Scott Davies was handed the captain’s arm-band. However Alexander decided that Atkinson’s performances as of late haven’t met his initial impressive performances for the club earlier in the season and therefore was dropped from the game. “The standards he (Atkinson) had set himself when he first came in were really high and I thought he’s just got below that for the last two or three games, so we made a couple of changes.”
Alexander then praised the influence that Scott Davies has around the club and therefore rewarded him with the captain’s arm-band. “Scott has the character and personality that we want round the club – the way he trains, everything about him – I thought he deserved to lead the team out today and hopefully even though we got beat, it was a proud moment for Davies to wear the arm-band.”