Town manager calls for repeat of last 45mins each game
Graham Alexander wants Fleetwood to take their second half performance from last night’s game at Notts County into Saturday’s game away at Plymouth Argyle.
Town narrowly fell to a 3-2 defeat in the first round of the Capital One Cup and after struggling in the first half. Alexander’s side controlled large periods of the second half, but could not find the elusive equaliser that would have forced the tie into extra-time.
Gareth Evans’ delightful chip gave Fleetwood the lead after 16 minutes, but Notts hit back with three goals before David Ball pulled one back late on as Town put in an impressive second half display.
Speaking to the Cod Army Player after the game at Meadow Lane, Alexander said: “The first half was disappointing; we scored a great goal through Gaz (Gareth Evans) it was a great finish and we should have built on that, but I thought we let Notts dominate the last 20 minutes of the first half and they managed to score two goals, which was disappointing from our point of view.
“Second half we were much improved. I think we created opportunities ourselves and kept theirs to a minimum. Apart from their goal, we can’t really remember Scott having a lot to do in the second half and even the winning goal was a deflection. Credit to Notts County, they had a lot of movement from the midfield, a good target man in Showumni and they caused us problems.
“We knew they would pressurise us because they’re a League 1 club and we were playing them at their place. We felt we could have dealt better with them especially in the first half. I was pleased with the second half and the way we finished was encouraging because I think we just ran out of time in the end.”
Alexander wants his players to start replicating their second half performance for 90 minutes week in, week out if they are to be successful, but also admits his side are still in a process of building.
“If you don’t get good quality through our possession then we are going to leave him (David Ball) isolated but I don’t think we had enough quality when we had the ball in the first half to build up the play up to Bally and then get the support.
“At half-time it was nothing that we hadn’t done before with changing the formation and we spoke about the importance of staying together as a unit across the midfield and across the back four and stop the crosses coming into our box, which we did in the second half and after that the threat was diminished.
“We have to do that for 90 minutes week in, week out to be successful over the season. We are still learning, even after winning on Saturday it’s a process that we have to be competitive in games and learn as we go along and we will learn from what we can tonight.
“We will take the positives with the way we finished, we looked fit and created chances but unfortunately ran out of time. We will take that in to Saturday now against Plymouth.”
Alexander made three changes to the side that defeated Dagenham & Redbridge. Evans came in as well as Stewart Murdoch and Matty Blair, who made their debuts since making their summer moves from Falkirk and York City respectively.
Alexander was pleased with how the debutants handled the occasion especially with their first games being against a League 1 club.
“They did well. It was a difficult game for them because obviously we have come into a game against a team in a higher level. They equipped themselves really well and we know what we can get from them. We believe in the strength of the squad.
“I thought there was a few good performances out there especially in the second half, but as a team, I think we have let ourselves down in certain aspects and it’s ended up costing us the game because costing three goals is going to put you under pressure and that’s what happened tonight.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to Plymouth Argyle and Alexander believes fitness will not be an issue going into the game and also reiterated that the strength in depth of his squad will be key over the course of the season.
Alexander admits Gareth Evans might be struggling after being substituted in the first half with a foot injury, but says he will put a squad out that will be competitive and win the game at Plymouth.
“It will be another tough game away at Plymouth. We only really have 48 hours to recover but we have fit players and have a fit squad and the lads that played tonight and play on Saturday at Plymouth – I don’t think it will be a problem for them.
“I think Gaz might be struggling. I saw him limping out of the changing room, but otherwise we will look at the DVD and see where we could have improved in our performance and then take into account what Plymouth might do and we will pick a team that will be competitive and hopefully win the game for us.
“We keep reiterating to the players that the squad will be used over the course of the season so we will use that squad. They have got two games in three days and there will be occasions where we ill have to use that squad.
“Whichever team we put out, we will be looking to win a game of football, but we have to pay respect to Plymouth. I watched them against Birmingham and they made it very hard for them and took them into extra time so it will be a tough game for us.”
Town take to the road on Saturday for the first time in Sky Bet League 2 when Home Park is the destination. Coach travel to Plymouth leaves Highbury at 6.00am and is £25 or £12.50 for season ticket holders. Sold