Graham Alexander says he and his Fleetwood side were left disappointed on Saturday, and felt they should have taken all three points against Bradford City.
By Tom Bestwick
Graham Alexander says he and his Fleetwood side were left disappointed on Saturday, and felt they should have taken all three points against Capital One cup finalists, Bradford City.
After taking the lead midway through the first half, Bradford fought back to take a 2-1 lead, with a late goal coming in the first half, and adding another early in the second. Town, though, were not to be denied as a Jon Parkin penalty leveled the scores with 15 minutes remaining.
“I've watched the game over the weekend and we did enough to win the game outright,” Alexander said. “But we gave away two sloppy goals. One was a great finish, but it shouldn't have reached a free-kick in that position. The second goal was just bad defending on our part.
“We did create opportunities and if we took more care then we could have had a couple more before half-time. On the balance of play and the opportunities we had, we're disappointed with the one point. Bradford are a tough side and I was pleased to see the lads disappointed with just a point.”
Alan Goodall’s header from Gareth Evans’ cross gave Fleetwood the lead on 23 minutes, and Alexander is pleased to see his defenders helping out in the opposition’s penalty area as well as their own.
“Goodie put himself in the right place in the box and attacked the ball well. There were also other good target in the box like Rob (Atkinson) and Pondy (Nathan Pond). As long as we put good deliveries into those areas then we have the people who can possibly score us goals. We have other options available but it was Goodie who scored the opener and was excellent all game.”
Fleetwood’s pressure in the second half eventually paid off. The referee was left with no choice but to point to the spot after James Hanson was adjudged to have handled Goodall’s cross. A decision that the visitors were not happy with after the final whistle blew, but for all their efforts, Alexander’s men could not find that elusive winner.
“I thought it was a definite penalty when the ball struck the lad it was going back into the danger area. Parky has then done the business and scored a penalty, which put us back into the game.”
“I think we had other opportunities, particularly Ryan (Crowther) towards the end. Ryan is disappointed he didn't hit the target and we would have deserved the goal at that stage.”
Fleetwood will spend the next week preparing for the long trip down south to face Torquay United, before travelling for their rearranged clash with Oxford United a week today. Torquay have only lost two homes games all season, and Alexander is predicting another tough encounter, but he insists his side can come away from Plainmoor with all three points.
“We have another hard game coming up when we travel to Torquay. I watched their game against Exeter and they showed it will be tough for us. It will be a good challenge against a team on their own pitch. As a team and as a squad we want to force our way of playing on the game and use our own style. It's something we are building but we aren't quite there yet. We are showing signs we can be competitive at this level and we can score goals. Once that happens on a consistent basis then we can push on. We must take every game as it comes and that is something we are strict about. We look for three points from every game and that is how we are collectively.”
Fleetwood’s task will be made easier by the fact that Torquay’s star striker, Rene Howe, will be missing from the game due to suspension. Howe, who has 14 goals for the season received his 10th booking of the campaign, and is now banned for two fixtures.
“Rene Howe has had a couple of good seasons and scored a lot of goals. He's obviously their focal point. It's a squad game in modern football and I'm sure his suspension will allow a hungry player to come in and be just as much a handful. Even though they will be missing that player, by no means will we take Torquay lightly. He is a big player for Torquay, and will be missed but we must concentrate on ourselves.
“This week is all about 100% preparation in our mental approach and physical work to ensure our game is right for Saturday.”