Manager's thoughts after Exeter disappointment
A disheartened Graham Alexander has called on his players to set the record straight on Tuesday night after Fleetwood Town fell to a 3-0 defeat to Exeter City at St James Park.
A Jon Parkin own-goal, which was described as a ‘sucker punch’ by Alexander, seperated the sides in a tight first half, before the Grecians’ on-loan striker, Eliot Richards, scored two goals in the space of three minutes to put an end to Town’s five-game unbeaten run.
The Cod Army’s manager admitted that his side shot themselves in the foot and went on to say that the defeat in Devonshire was a sore one for him and his players to take.
Speaking to the club’s official website after the game, Alexander said: “It obviously wasn’t good enough, all three of their goals have come through set pieces.
“That is a massive disappointment from us because of the amount of work we do on them. We didn’t compete at any level that we should be and what we expect them to.
“Only one individual can look at themselves in the mirror and say that they did everything that they had to do, that was Nathan Pond, he was outstanding today.
“It looked like it was more important for Exeter to get the three points than it was for us. That’s not the case, the lads are hurting in there and so they should be.
“There was nothing in the game before the first goal, it was quite flat before that and the first goal gave them a lift and was a sucker punch for us. We didn’t recover after that to half time.
“We came out in the second half with a little more energy, we had a couple of opportunities in the final third, which we could have got something from, but then we shot ourselves in the foot by giving a poor corner away and not defending properly.”
Despite seeing his side fall to defeat, Alexander was able to welcome back top goalscorer David Ball to the first-team for the first time since the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Final first-leg against Chesterfield at the start of February.
Iain Hume also made his debut as a substitute after joining Fleetwood until the end of the season from Preston North End on Thursday, and whilst Alexander admits his side caused Exeter problems following the pairs introduction, he has called on his players to put the game behind them and get back to winning ways when they face Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.
“We caused them some problems when Humey (Iain Hume) came on and then when David Ball came on,” Alexander added.
“I thought that gave us a bit more guile and a bit more subtly and a bit more energy, but you can’t start to play when you’re 3-0 down.
“That was the case, it’s a sore one for us and people will be looking at us thinking we have got a soft chin and can’t defend ourselves.
“It’s a sore one, it really is, but it’s not the end of the season, it’s not the end of the world and we have to make sure we are ten times better than that on Tuesday.
“That’s not just in our energy levels, but our competitiveness and we need to take the game to Bristol Rovers and get three points so we are looking up again.
“We can’t keep getting ourselves in these positions and letting ourselves down.
“That’s what we are doing, there aren’t many teams who have turned us over, we have shot ourselves in the foot and we have done that today and it’s disappointing.
Sim“We have to go again Monday to be ready to go Tuesday because that’s the only way we can put things right.”