Delighted boss hails ‘complete performance’

Paul McKenna for Fleetwood
Paul McKenna for Fleetwood

FLEETWOOD Town boss Graham Alexander believes his side have laid down the building blocks for success after cruising to victory over in-form Oxford United.

Defensive errors from the Us gifted Jamille Matt and Ryan Crowther goals for Fleetwood before Jon Parkin, on his return from injury, added a late third. And, following defeats against Northampton and Bristol Rovers, the Fleetwood boss was relieved to see his players getting the basics right.

“It’s a welcome victory,” admitted Alexander. “We looked to improve on our last performance at Highbury.

“We improved on our competitiveness and our game management and I think we got the rewards for the effort we put in. Every single lad, from top to bottom, everyone that played and even the lads on the bench, supporting their team mates, was superb and the result was thoroughly deserved.

“It was a very hard work, intense, professional performance. The flair and guile will come, I think, but the first building blocks have to be put down. That’s competitiveness, fitness, teamwork and a team ethic and that’s what got us the result today. Those are things that anybody can give and then you add your ability on top of that.”

Town’s opener, of the rump of striker Matt, was a stroke of luck – but Alexander was pleased to see his side piling on the pressure.

Alexander said: “It was a case of getting plenty of pressure on them and it’s gone in from Jamille’s backside – but as all strikers tell you, anything will do. He didn’t celebrate but I think he should have done because he’s deserved a goal today. What pleased me more was we took the lead and didn’t sit back. We carried on with the pressure, we kept pushing them and we took that into the second half as well. It was a complete performance.”

And there was praise for Fleetwood’s back four, which included club legend Nathan Pond, making his first ever Football League start.

Alexander said: “There are a few who have come in. Pondy’s had his league debut, Jamie Allen too, Paul McKenna in there and Jon Parkin (above) back from injury. There’s a lot of new faces in there. Jamille was only playing his second game. Their hard work was great to see.

“We know the qualities Pondy has, his athleticism, his defensive ability and it’s great to see him putting them to use. We look for defensive qualities in that back four.

“We want them to be defenders first and anything else the do is a bonus.

“That’s what we look to build on and all of them, Rob Atkinson, Alan Goodall, Nathan Pond and Shaun Beeley have been fantastic. They did what we asked them to do, stopping crosses, winning aerial challenges and that’s what gave us the basis to go on and win the game.”

Another man making his first Football League bow for Town was Ryan Crowther, who came on as a half time substitute for the injured Junior Brown.

Alexander was more than happy to reward his hard work on the training ground.

“We brought Ryan (Crowther) back off his loan and we asked him if he wanted to be part of this club. He’s desperate to be part of the club and wanted to prove that.

“Him coming on and playing 45 minutes and getting a goal is what he’s deserved after the work he’s put in in training over the last two or three weeks. Now he’s got to prove to us he can do it for 90 minutes and day in, day out.

“That goes for every professional at this club. The work never stops, once you cross the line or walk into work you get down to business. Ryan’s done that, and that’s why he’s had his chance and he thoroughly deserves it.”