Defender sees off Rochdale threat
Nathan Pond says Fleetwood Town stuck to their game plan successfully as the stalwart defender played a huge part in the Cod Army’s 2-1 win over fellow promotion chasing Rochdale.
The 28-year-old, alongside captain Mark Roberts at the heart of the defence, put in a rock solid display as Roberts’ late goal gifted Fleetwood a priceless three points that lifted them back into Sky Bet League 2 automatic promotion places.
Antoni Sarcevic scored his eighth goal of the season from the penalty spot after Charlie Taylor had been brought down in the box before Scott Hogan equalised for the host five minutes before half time. Roberts, though, provided the final twist as he scored Town’s late winner.
Pond admits Fleetwood had done their homework on the hosts and said the team’s discipline to keep their shape and frustrate their opponents went a long way to securing their eleventh league victory of the season.
“Rochdale are a very good passing side and we knew that before that game,” Pond said.
“It was important for us to keep our shape all the way through the team, we did that today, we frustrated them and we got the right result.
“We knew they liked to play out from the back so we had a good shape about us.
“We put pressure on at the right time, squeezed up at the right times and we dropped at the right times. The game plan was spot on and we got a great result.
“We were comfortable until they scored. Obviously they had a few long balls that went in behind, but we managed to deal with that.
“They got a corner and that was a bit of a scramble around the box and it has gone in off the post. It hasn’t even touched the back of the net, that’s how unlucky we was.
“Rochdale come at us a bit more in the second half and I thought they played better in the second half than they did in the first half.
“They caused us more problems and we was defending quite a lot, but the good shape about us was picking up the second balls in good areas and counter attacking and I thought we did that really well.
“I don’t know how the other results went, but even before the game we knew it was important because we could have lost and dropped to tenth or could have won and gone top.
“That’s how tight this league is, but coming to Rochdale who was one place above us, we knew we had to overtake them. It was a good result for us.”
After the physical and emotional game against Rotherham United on the Tuesday evening, Graham Alexander opted to make changes early on in the second half.
Junior Brown, Daniel Carr and Stewart Murdoch all came on and made an impact for Town with Brown delivering the cross that enabled Fleetwood to re-establish their lead.
Pond paid tribute to the three players for how they changed the game in Town’s favour before again highlighting the importance of the squad rather than the 11 players that start the game.
“Junior came on and put a great cross in and I headed it, it hit the inside of the post and Robbo was in the right place to score. All the substitutes came on and did a great job, that’s why we have got a good squad, that’s what they are there for.”
Before Roberts nodded Fleetwood back in front, Pond had rose to meet Brown’s cross, but the long serving defender, who is on 49 Fleetwood goals, watched his effort cannon off the post before his centre back partner headed into an empty net.
Although he was disappointed not to reach another Cod Army landmark, Pond insisted that he does not mind waiting for goal number 50 as long as the team keeps on winning games.
“I am not bothered as long as we keep winning and I am sure the goal will come eventually. I am still stuck on 49 but I am sure number 50 will come.”