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Final Whistle - Chesterfield

21 April 2013

Graham Alexander was left frustrated after his sides 3-1 defeat to Chesterfield – especially after playing some of the best football they have produced all season in the first half.

By Tom Bestwick

Graham Alexander was left frustrated after his sides 3-1 defeat to Chesterfield – especially after playing some of the best football they have produced all season in the first half.

Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee denied Fleetwood on a number of occasions with a number of fine saves. Jamille Matt, Ryan Crowther and Gareth Evans all had great chances during a first half that was largely controlled by Town. Despite their control, Chesterfield scored two goals in two minutes at the end of the half, and Alexander was left reflecting the similar individual errors that sent Fleetwood 2-0 down at the break. “We created loads of chances and three minutes before half time I am thinking this is the best we have played for weeks.” Alexander said. “We make similar mistakes as individuals and if you are not going to learn then you are going to have shock because we keep shooting ourselves in the foot and that’s what we did today. If you concede one just before half time after playing well then you see it out and you go in one down, but to concede another as well. It’s poor. “I am frustrated at the moment because it is a game we should have won, without a doubt; we dominated especially in the first half but two goals killed us. I am not taking anything away from Chesterfield because I think they have got some decent players, but I thought we dominated the first half. You have to take your chances though. That’s what the lads are there to do, that’s part of their job to take the chances they get. They were very good chances and they cost us. “After you play so well, it’s the manner of the goals. If someone hits one from 30 yards or does a great piece of skill, but it wasn’t, it was just giving possession away in stupid places, which we have talked about. Responsibility from set pieces, marking your man it is quite simple, that’s your man, you mark him, he doesn’t score, but we switch off. It’s a mentality issue and we have to address that then I think in the second half we still created chances but we ran out of legs.” Alexander made one change to the team that was defeated by Rotherham United, and replaced Conor McLaughlin with Ryan Crowther to add more width to his team with Junior Brown still playing at left back. The 41-year-old also felt David Ball and Jamille Matt deserved to be paired together once again and Chesterfield struggled to cope with Towns attacking play. “We tried to play in an expansive way with two wingers really wide and put Junior (Brown) to left back because of his quality on the ball as well. I thought David Ball and Jamille last week deserved to play the same and I thought we carved Chesterfield open on numerous occasions with some really good, fast and dynamic football. I don’t think we had the energy to fight for 90 minutes, and that might have something to do with the two goals right before half time taking the wind out of our sails a little bit.” Despite going in at the break two goals down, Alexander still believed Fleetwood had a chance of getting back in the game if they could replicate their first half display, but he also admits his side need to be mentally stronger in the future if they are to get back into games. “We have to be better mentally, this is what this level is all about, it is about having strong mentality. Even at half time I thought if we replicated the performance of the first half then we could get back into the game, but we conceded another poor goal and its difficult from there, but I thought even at half time it was a game we could go on and win.” Jamille Matt was substituted seven minutes after the restart and was replaced by Andy Mangan. Alexander sited that he took Matt off because he was physically not right and he would have liked to have kept him on. Mangan, who is working his way back to full fitness after he tore his knee cartilage earlier in the season, impressed and scored after coming on and Alexander was impressed with how the striker played when he came on. “He took his goal really well and offered us a threat. He and David Ball linked up very well and he could have had two or three himself. His finish was very calmly taken, it was a good run and ball, but we have to rue the other chances missed by three or four different players and giving away poor goals. At the end of the day, all the football in the world is about both boxes and you have to be clinical in one and you have to be determined in the other. We were missing on both accounts.” “I thought he was physically not right. He seemed to run out of legs really early so it wasn’t tactical and we would have liked to keep Jamille on. When he is fit and raring as we saw three or four weeks ago then he is a really big handful, but if he is struggling fitness wise then he struggles. That is something we have to work with Jamille on, he is not the only one, there are other people we have do that with. It is one of those we would have loved to have kept him on, but it was the right thing to do.” Yesterday also saw Fleetwood record their highest attendance of the season with 3,705 fans packed into Highbury Stadium for their final home clash of the season, and Alexander believes the fans energy channelled into his team and was a big factor in the first half display. “I thought the players responded to that. I think that maybe some of the excitement running from the crowd through the teams and it might have something to do with the energy we showed and the actual football. The quality of the passing and the attacking play was fantastic and it was probably the best we have played for quite a while, but goals change games and that’s what happened today and two goals in two minutes have killed us. It’s a harsh lesson and we have to learn from it, and we will learn from it but that’s what it is at this level. Its frustrating because over the 90 minutes I thought we definitely deserved to get something out of the game, and probably win it, but it wasn’t to be.” Fleetwood’s final game of their debut season in the football league will see them travel to AFC Wimbledon, who after a 2-2 draw with Gillingham on Saturday, slipped into the bottom two and will go into the game fighting to save their football league status. Alexander insists he won’t be looking to do any favours for Neal Ardley’s team, and wants his team to do everything they can to go out and win their final game of the season – even if it does send the Dons down to the Blue Square Bet Premier. “I want to go into it and win the game, a game is a game, I don’t care what’s on it, I want to win the game. That’s the mentality we have to have and that’s the mentality we will have during the week, and we are going to work hard to make sure we win this game. I think our record at the minute is 15,15,15, which probably sums us up, win one, lose one, draw one, and I want to stay in the positives by winning next weeks game and we will work hard this week to make sure we go down there and come back with the three points. “If you are a professional footballer and you are taking to the field then your responsibility is to go out there and give everything you have got and that is what I will be demanding from the team.”

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