Manager calls for even approach
Graham Alexander felt his team were hard done by, exclaiming “we didn’t deserve that” after Fleetwood’s 1-0 defeat away at Northampton Town yesterday.
Luke Norris curled in an injury-time free-kick as Sky Bet League 2’s bottom club halted Fleetwood’s run of four consecutive wins in all competitions.
Alexander, though, in the aftermath of the final whistle, expressed his concerns about some of the refereeing decisions that were made over the course of the contest at Sixfields – citing that he and his team have encountered similar issues earlier in the season.
“We didn’t deserve that,” Alexander said. “I’ve got nothing but praise for my team and my players because I thought we showed great discipline with some of the things that went on over that 90 minutes.
“You know what you are going to get here and you have to deal with it and I felt we did.
“You get set pieces and long throws, but we wanted to head it and get bodies in the way and that’s the only way you can defend against that stuff, it’s not tactical, it’s just who wants to win it.
“I thought our boys were fantastic on that side and we wanted to stick to the way we played, which we did, and we created opportunities.
“On another day, we score and see out the game, but going into the ninetieth minute at 0-0 after a game like that, we will take that because it is a tough game.”
“I am just glad that we got through with 11 men on the pitch. I couldn’t be more pleased with my team and they have been done at the end.
“It’s not a free-kick to me, and I feel it’s not a free-kick on the touchline, it didn't look like a a booking for Jon Parkin, nor is it a not a free-kick on the edge of the box.
“They aren’t claiming for it and I am getting sick and tired of coming away to games and us getting booked for nothing.
“It happened at York, when we won, and I put a report in and got nothing back. It was the same again, Conor McLaughlin got booked for pulling, but Sarcevic was brought down when he was clean in against the back four and nothing done. I have got to be careful, but it’s not acceptable.”
Striker David Ball sustained a shoulder injury midway through the first half after a heavy challenge from Mathias Kouo-Doumbe and was consequently immediately taken to hospital.
The 23-year-old is set to be reassessed on Monday, but Alexander insists he feels he can no longer keep quiet about incidents similar to those that happened to Ball and is going to stick up for his squad.
“I think he’s (David Ball) done his shoulder, whether it is fractured or dislocated, but this goes back to the time at Tranmere where he gets clouted and gets four stitches in his eye.
“Does it get dealt with? No. It’s let go and I am not prepared to be quiet about this. I want to stick up for my players and give them a voice because it is not right.”
After two rigorous cup ties leading up to the game, Alexander insists he was pleased with the fitness of his squad throughout the contest against Northampton and said that his players are going ‘to work like dogs’ over the course of the upcoming week to get back to winning ways when Mansfield Town visit Highbury next weekend.
“Physically fitness wise, they were great. There were a few bumps, knocks and bruises, but it was a competitive game.
“We have got no qualms with competitive games because we are competitive ourselves. We are going to work hard every single day this week to make sure people don’t get that chance to kill us like that again.
“We are going to train Monday and we are going to work like dogs to make sure that we’re competitive in the game (against Mansfield), it will be a tough game and hopefully fortunes doesn’t go against us like it did tonight.”