Turn defeats into draws
Graham Alexander bemoaned his side’s failure to grind out draws when the going gets tough as they fell to defeat at rivals Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
Having won in the most dramatic of fashions at home to Mansfield on Saturday, Alexander was hoping his team could overcome an in-form Stanley side that had not lost in seven games in all competitions heading into this Lancashire clash.
A penalty from Danny Webber and a late goal from on-loan Rotherham United striker Kayode Odejayi however sealed the Cod Army’s fate.
In rather despondent mood, Alexander said: “I thought it was a game we controlled in the first half and played some good football. Defensively we looked really strong and we just had to mirror that for the second half, where I think we did for little spells, but we looked a little bit flat energy wise. We gave a poor penalty away and after that Accrington got their tales up and they just looked more energetic than us after that point”.
Webber struck from the spot in the 75th minute to give Stanley the lead after Peter Murphy was brought down in the area: “I think the lads have said it was a penalty and it was a poor one to concede, but this is football and we’re not going to hang anyone out to dry as we all stick together as a group. We created chances, especially in the first half; we’ve hit the bar, had some crossed flashing across the goal and missed some really good opportunities, but we didn’t put them away and you’re always susceptible when you concede a poor goal”.
Alexander’s men fell to a narrow defeat at Northampton just over a fortnight ago in a game where the Cod Army were made to rue a number of missed opportunities, and the same was the case on Tuesday: “What we spoke about then was that if we miss our chances then we see the game out 0-0 and go away with a point, but we haven’t done that and it’s something we need to address. At the moment we’re either winning or losing, and we now have to win or draw. We know we’re not going to win every game, but we have to grind out some draws here or there”.
After seeing his defence concede four against Mansfield over the weekend, Alexander was pleased however to see a more encouraging performance from his backline at the Store First Stadium: “I couldn’t see us conceding. We maybe lacked a bit of zip in the second half playing wise, but we defended really well against a threatening team. However, one moment turns a game and we get beat which is poor. We won’t continue in the same vein, but we must work hard on Thursday and Friday and make sure we get ready for a big game on Saturday”.
Some consolation for Alexander is the fact that all four sides around them in the league failed to win, meaning Town are still only two points off top spot: “It’s that sort of division at the moment. It just takes someone to grasp that chance and I think if we’d picked up a couple of draws instead of getting beat then we’d be up there, and that’s what we have to try and rectify. As a team who can win games we’ve done well on that front as I don’t think anyone’s won as many games as us or scored more goals than us, but we just have to make sure we’ve got that toughness throughout our team and not get beat when we don’t play well”.