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Alexander pleased with how his team kept on fighting

20 September 2014

Manager after 3-3 draw against the league favourites

Graham Alexander praised his team’s character and efforts as they clawed themselves back to salvage a deserved point against table toppers Bristol City.

Stephen Dobbie’s sublime finish late on capped off a memorable fight back and sent the Highbury faithful into raptures as they denied City all three points.

Josh Morris had given the Cod Army the lead in the first half, but two Kieran Agard strikes either side of half time and an Aaron Wilbraham goal had put the West County side further ahead.

However, Alexander brought on Jamie Proctor and he made an instant impact heading beyond Frankie Fielding, before Dobbie fired home with a minute to go.

Alexander, speaking to the club’s official website after the game, said: “It was a hard earned point for us but I think it was a fair one in the end. Both teams had chances and both will be disappointed with the way they defended.

“I thought we shot ourselves in the foot at the start of the second half with two sloppy goals, but the character shown after that and the quality we showed in our attacking play was pleasing.

“The front five, whoever we play, have all got the qualities to score goals. All of our attacking midfielders can score goals, and we haven’t got the goals our overall play has deserved over the past few games.

“Josh gives you everything every single day, not just in games but in training. He’s a great young player and he deserves that for his overall play.”

Alexander was disappointed at the manner his side conceded their goals this afternoon however, but hopes it is only a blip.

“I’ve looked at their goals in the changing room now and it reinforces the fact that they were sloppy goals which is unlike us.

“The defensive aspect of our team over the last three, four, five months has been fantastic and hopefully today is just a blip.

“We mustn’t forget that we’ve just been up against a very, very strong team at this level which I would suspect will be in the top two at the end of the season.”

Alexander paid tribute to his substitutes for changing the game when they game, and admits it gave them a new dimension.

“The substitutes that came on reignited us and they all contributed in us getting back into the game.

“To get back to 3-3 so near to the end is a fantastic thing.

“We talk strongly about the group because it’s a squad effort every single week. Even the lads that don’t get on have a part to play and they will get game time.

“We don’t have a massive squad because I don’t believe in such a thing, instead we want it to be compact so everyone has got a chance of playing.”

The 42 year old also stated that today’s atmosphere inside Highbury was one of the best since he joined the Club.

“Our supporters responded to the vast numbers that Bristol City brought up and created a fantastic atmosphere inside Highbury.

“They really built up the atmosphere towards the last 10 or 15 minutes and the players responded to this.

“They sucked us towards the goal and it was a sublime finish from Dobs, and that’s why we brought him to the club.

“He’s still not 100% match fit but we know he has those qualities. We’ve been seeing it in training all the time and today it was a great finish.”

In the opposing dugout for City was Steve Cotterill, a man Alexander knows very well frome their time together at Burnley.

“Steve was fantastic for my career when he took me to Burnley, but we’re both extremely competitive and want to put one over on each other. That’s why we’re in the game.”

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