Town enjoy back-to-back wins
Graham Alexander paid tribute to his players after Fleetwood maintained their 100 per cent league record away at Plymouth Argyle.
Fleetwood ran out 2-0 winners at Home Park to build on their impressive displays against Dagenham & Redbridge last week as well as the narrow 3-2 defeat to Notts County in midweek.
David Ball’s brace within the first 12 minutes of the game gave Fleetwood their first successive league wins since February, as Town also stood firm defensively to earn their first clean sheet of the season as well.
Alexander told the Cod Army Player after the game: “It was a very good start. It was similar to last week against Dagenham how we came out of the blocks and it was a case of being really professional and keeping their chances to a minimum, which we did, and we saw the game out.
“I wouldn’t say it was comfortable as they committed a lot of bodies forward and took risks but I don’t think Scott (Davies) had to many saves to make. They was a dangerous opponent, especially with how they were trying to play in the second half, but we are pleased with the clean sheet and obviously the three points.
“Defenders are there to defend so you are going to have to expect them to do their jobs. The midfielders also worked their socks off all the way across and Bally (David Ball) up front also did a job.
“It takes a team effort to keep clean sheets, you can’t just put a back four out there and keep them at bay, and so we are pleased with how they did that as a group. We improved from the last performance against Notts County defensively and scored two fantastic goals through Bally. They were goals of the highest order.
“We hit Plymouth a few times on the break in the first half and maybe with a little bit more care and a little bit more directness we may have scored more goals.
“Sometimes there was too many passes. On one occasion I can remember, it enabled Plymouth to get back at us, but we always looked like we could threaten their goal and that is good to see.”
Alexander was particularly pleased with how Fleetwood professionally dealt with Argyle, especially after they had taken a 2-0 lead so early on in the game.
Against Dagenham, Fleetwood were pegged back to 2-1 as Dagenham forced their way back into the game before Town picked up the tempo in the second half and going onto win the game 3-1 and Alexander was pleased that his players kept up their intensity for the whole game against Plymouth.
“We do have good attacking options. What pleased me most though was the clean sheet and the performance because after going 2-0 up early days it is easy to get complacent, which I found against Dagenham when we lost our way a little bit and become a little bit to gung ho, which enabled Dagenham to get a foot hold in the game. Where as today, we didn’t do that. We kept doing all the right things and it was a very pleasing three points.
“It’s a dangerous opponent when you go 2-0 up because they can commit more bodies forward and take a bit more risk. You have to defend against that and we know we have great legs in that midfield, who can make up long distances in a short period of time.
“We also have lads who have great ability on the ball as well so the passes come when they make those runs. It was pleasing to see the work rate that was put in both on and off the ball. It’s important that we keep that up.”
Alexander held off making any substitutions in the game until the 86th minute when Dean Howell and Stewart Murdoch came on before Conor McLaughlin came on in the 90th minute to see the game out and Alexander explained why he put off making his changes until so late, as well as going on to insist again that the whole squad will get their chance over the course of the campaign.
“The lads put a great shift in and Plymouth were committing more and more men forward and we just thought the three substitutes would make us a little bit more solid.
“I didn’t feel we had to go and attack the game at that period. I thought we could just see the game out so bringing on those three lads shored us up again and gave us a little bit more energy.
“The three guys that came off had worked their socks off and I keep saying it’s a squad game and we will use the whole squad throughout the season.”
Looking ahead to next Saturday and Fleetwood will host Burton Albion at Highbury. The Brewers finished in the play-offs last season before being eventually being defeated by eventual winners Bradford City over the two-legged semi-final.
Burton also beat Fleetwood 4-0 last season at Highbury and Alexander admits it is going to be another tough game, but has called on his players to replicate the form that they showed against Plymouth.
Alexander also wants to reward the fans in the game after those that travelled down south to Home Park missed Fleetwood’s two goals after an issue with the coach’s tyre, but the Town manager hopes the fans were sent home happy with the rest of the performance.
“It will be a big game for us next week. Obviously Burton were in the play-offs last season and beat us at home last season 4-0 and Scott got sent off. It’s a big game for us, but they are all big games for us and we want to go into every game competitive and strong and give the fans a reward for their support.
“I heard the supporters missed the two goals today, but hopefully they were pleased with the rest of the performance and will go home happy bunnies.
“It’s a long way to come and we really appreciate that support and when you get two blow outs along the way it doesn’t make you smile, but when you come through the gates and see us two goals up, it brings a smile to their faces and they can stick with us, which they have done so far.
“We are looking to do it in front of our home crowd as well. We are looking forward to the game and we have a full week of training, which is important, and we will look for a similar performance to today.”