Alexander’s balancing act

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Graham Alexander has vowed his Fleetwood side will find the balance between attacking flair and defensive strength.

Town were punished for a lack of adventure after the break at home to League Two leaders Oxford United on Saturday, when an 89th-minute Dave Kitson header rescued a point for Chris Wilder’s side.

Steven Schumacher had given Town and early lead and Alexander was encouraged after his side went so close to becoming the first to beat Oxford on the road this season.

However, he knows they must learn from an over-cautious display.

The Town boss said: “I thought we played really well in the first half. We scored a great goal but as the game progressed we came under increasing pressure from diagonals and free-kicks into our box.

“We had to defend that but we just didn’t get our game going in the second half and we became a little bit too obsessed with just defending.

“We didn’t get on the ball enough and we invited the pressure. We were so close to coming out with all three points but overall I think a point was a fair result.”

Town have been plagued by costly late goals of late and Alexander believes this week’s issues were a reaction to defensive frailties exposed by Mansfield and Accrington.

He explained: “In the last couple of games, late goals have come because we’ve probably been too focused on attacking. That wasn’t the case here.

“We’ve swung too far the other way – we were too defensive. We want to find that balance and we will.”

Schumacher curled a superb free-kick into the top corner and should have added a second, blasting over the bar from Gareth Evans’ cross.

Alexander knows it was a big moment but felt Town shouldn’t have surrendered their advantage. He said: “You always want to take your chances. If Steven had taken the second one it gives us a good cushion but it wasn’t to be. We were winning at half-time, in a good position and in control.”

Dave Kitson menaced Town after the break, winning a penalty – taken by Danny Rose and saved by Scott Davies – before nodding in at the death.

Alexander said: “They are unbeaten away from home.

They have a couple of strikers who can cause a lot of problems.

“Kitson is a very experienced player. He earns a lot of free-kicks and penalties.

“I don’t think it was a penalty but it’s a great save from Scott. But Kitson’s got us back, popping up and getting that equaliser.

“We’ve had a brave 88 minutes but we’re looking for 90 minutes from them.

“We had some frank discussions over Thursday and Friday about our defensive record and they all did what we expected of them.”

“But we didn’t keep our game up for 90 minutes. It was right for 45 but then we were too eager to protect that lead.”

Town would have gone top had they hung on for victory but instead dropped to seventh.

Alexander insisted his players needn’t be too down about Saturday’s result.

“The lads were all looking at their feet and were disappointed they didn’t win the game,” he said.

“What I’ve said to them is that from the defeats we’ve had this season we should have taken three or four points.

“There are games we should have ground out results from and had we done so we’d be top of the league.

“They can’t be down about this result and I was really pleased to see the reaction from the last two games.

“I wanted to be hard to beat and that’s what we saw.”