Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton saw his side narrowly lose out 1-0 to league leaders Ipswich Town at Highbury Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
One goal separated the two sides and it was Kayden Jackson who got that goal in the 58th minute. The striker followed in from a free-kick and Alex Cairns could only parry the ball into his path, allowing him to pass it into the back of the net.
The Cod Army applied lots of pressure on the Ipswich defence after a dominating first-half, but could not find the equaliser they were looking for. Ched Evans had the best chance to level the scores but he couldn’t quite put the ball into the back of the net after a header across the box from Ash Hunter.
Here is what Joey Barton had to say after the game.
On the game…
“It was a good game, a good competitive fixture with two good sides having a right old ding-dong. When that happens as we thought, during the week, your set plays have got to be on the money and the game is ultimately decided on a set play.
“It’s a strange one (Harry) Souttar is going to win the header and then just puts his arm out and obviously (James) Norwood runs into it and the ref awards a free kick. You do see them awarded from time to time, sometimes you don’t and then the aftermath of that is, at the end of the day, it should have been a free-kick to us because Norwood then decides to push our wall and the law change says you can’t be within a metre of the wall.
“I’m disappointed that the officials have missed that but then we’ve got to follow in and also be alive for Alex (Cairns) making the save, even making sure that we pick up the seconds – we didn’t do that and you get punished when you play teams of a lesser standard and lesser individuals, you might get away with that. When you play the good sides in your division, you do get punished.
“After that we’ve had a good go, created a good chance with Ash Hunter’s header and almost connected at the back post from Ched (Evans), but then the flipside of that is you are pushing on to try and get yourselves back into the game and they have a couple of opportunities. The penalty being the one that should put the game to bed, but whilst it was 1-0, the lads kept fighting and the fans stayed with them.
“As I say, we can play better than that. Too many of our top players weren’t at their top level and when you play good teams you can’t do that. There’s not much between the two sides.”
On the home record…
“At the end of the day, the record and all the bits and bobs like that, they kind of go out the window – especially when you’ve got a different aim and a different ambition. We’ve got to learn from those lessons but it was nice, this week has been a great build up for us because we haven’t had that expectation, certainly in my time, that we’re in a top of the table clash – rolling into town, we think we are a real side and they think they are a real side.
“Both are going hard for automatic promotion and thinking about the top of the table and possibly in May, the silverware. It was a good examination of our group to see how they dealt with the intensity that a big side in your division bring and I thought we handled it superbly.
“As a group I would just like us to play a little bit better with a bit more quality, certainly when it came to delivery from set plays but as I say, it’s a team that is learning. You can’t go from a side that was fighting relegation two years ago, to being inch perfect in a short space of time, with the turnover of players that we have had.
“We are building and there are real positive signs, we must be better when we come back here against Burton in a couple of weeks’ time, and we keep turning up for each other like the lads do in that dressing room, then we will be fine.”
On the fans…
“Fantastic, and we are going to need them – I think Ipswich today had 1,200 travelling fans and that roar them on. I’m telling you as a player it makes a massive difference. For our players to have the stadium rocking is, for me, a huge progress.
“We are in a good spot, the club is in a great place – disappointed today, gutted to lose the game, but we will be back stronger.”