Graham Alexander paid tribute to the diligence of the Fleetwood Town squad after they ‘worked their socks off’ at York City to pick up their first victory in four games and lift themselves back into the Sky Bet League 2 top three.
Gareth Evans scored his first league goal of the season, and his first since the Capital One Cup first round tie against Notts County, with a header in the first half before top scorer, Jamille Matt, added another in the second half as Fleetwood picked up their fifth away win out of seven on the road.
As well as showing their attacking qualities, Town showed grit and determination to keep the Ministermen at bay and keep their first league clean sheet since September.
“I thought the team was excellent. We got the ball down and played it at the right times, showed confidence on the ball, confidence in each other, which is important, and I thought we deserved the three points. I am really pleased,” Alexander told the club website.
“They (York) have got threats throughout the team. They are very direct with their wingers, they get the ball to them and they do want to take you on.
“They don’t mess about and Hoges (Liam Hogan) did well throughout the game but picked up an injury towards the end. Charlie (Taylor) kept the winger on the other side really quiet as well and that just left Cressy and Pondy to deal with the striker.
“We looked really solid throughout the whole team, it’s no good just picking out the back four and the keeper, or the midfield.
“It was the whole team that worked their socks off to make sure we kept the clean sheet and win the game and the lads that came on contributed to the whole effort and it was good to see.
“It was great to have Jamma (Jamille Matt) back to his best, feeling fit and himself. I thought he led the line really well and Sarc (Antoni Sarcevic) supported him really well as well, so that was good to see.
“For the second goal, it was a great ball from Schuey (Steven Schumacher) into a dangerous area and Jamma was there to blast it in and I thought he could have had a penalty at the end as well. We kept our discipline, kept our composure and deserved the three points.
Before the game, Alexander opted to go with Evans as the only recognised winger as he looked to add steel to his team whilst also maintaining the attacking threat that has seen them become the division’s joint best attacking team in Sky Bet League 2.
“I just thought it would allow us to play through the team a little bit more instead of being more direct, which I thought we had done for the last couple of games.
“It also gave us a little more defensive solidity in front of the back four to make sure we went there and put in a good performance because we knew we had to.
“York went to Chesterfield and went 2-0 up during the week and they’re a dangerous team so we had to make sure we didn’t expose ourselves to early.
“I thought we played some great football, really expansive football, we made the right decisions at the right time – when to pass it into feet and short and when to turn York – and we scored two good goals and could have had a couple more on another day.
“We had to make sure that we were on our metal because York brought on another striker on at half time and put two up and we did well.”
Alexander has often cited the importance of his wingers joining the loan front man as almost secondary strikers and says Evans thrived in his roving role yesterday afternoon.
“We’re pleased for Gaz, he works really hard during the week in training and he is a goal threat and he’s not the only one we have in the team.
“It’s important that those wide men get into the box as many times as possible when the ball is on the other side.
“He did exactly that, and I don’t know how difficult the finish was, but it was the work before to get to that position.
“It was a great ball in and it was a really good goal to settle everyone down and just give us the goal that we deserved from the initial play, which hasn’t come in the last two games, but that’s the fine line between wins and defeats. You have to take your chances when they come and we did that.”
Meanwhile, after getting back to winning ways, Alexander has called on his players to continue ‘doing the right things day in day out’ as they look to add more consistency to their game.
“That’s football; the hardest thing in football is being consistent. You get a bit of success and you think you might have to do a bit extra and take it on again, but you don’t, you just have to keep doing the right things day in, day out.
“That’s including training, Monday to Friday, and that has to continue into the game on Saturday and I thought we did that today.
“I thought we looked like how we do day in day out at training and that was the most pleasing for me.
“Every manager in the league is looking for consistent winning performances, so we will take what we did, we’re really pleased, it is a great three points for us and we will look forward to next week’s game.”