GRAHAM Alexander will make sure his side don’t sweep the memories of Saturday’s defeat under the carpet as they prepare to face Cheltenham Town tomorrow, writes ROB STOCKS.
Fleetwood had two men sent off in the second half, slumping to a 2-0 defeat at the EBB Stadium – but Alexander was more concerned with Fleetwood’s dismal first half display.
He said: “We’re not going to forget this day. We’re going to remember how we feel. If you push these days under the carpet then you’re lying to yourself and you’re not realistic. We’re going to use this day for the rest of the season. We’ve wasted a game. If you come and give your all and get beaten that’s fair enough. But we haven’t done that today.”
Fleetwood created few chances in the first half, some sloppy defending gifting The Shots a goal eight minutes before the break. Alexander was furious at the performance.
He said: “My team’s commitment in the first half was just nowhere near the levels we expect of anyone, no matter who we put out there. Regardless of what happened in the second half I would still have been raging over the first half because it just wasn’t good enough.
“Football is such a fine line. But why do we wait until 46 minutes to have a go? Why do we waste 45 minutes?
“It could have changed on a couple of opportunities we created at the start of the second half . But football is unforgiving. If you think you can play for half a game and be successful you are kidding yourself. We’re not going to kid ourselves. We’re going to be realistic and we know that wasn’t good enough today.”
Town had begun to battle back from a 1-0 half time deficit when Jamie McGuire was sent off for violent conduct mid-way through the second half. Alan Goodall followed shortly after for a professional foul on Danny Hylton.
Alexander believed only one of the two men should have walked. He said: “The second one Goody hasn’t touched him at all. It’s not a red card for me. The first was right in front of me. He’s raised his arm. He’s not hurt the lad, you might think he’d been hit by Tyson, but you can’t do that and you can’t defend what he’s done.”
And Alexander told The Gazette McGuire had apologised for his rush of blood to the head.
“Jamie has apologised in the dressing room,” he said. “It’s a big point in the game. There are other things. If I was happy with everything up to that point I’d be really angry with Jamie. I’m still not pleased with him because it’s stupid. But he’s a conscientious lad and he works so hard for us. He is what he is and that’s a warrior. But you have to temper it and today he’s probably crossed the line.”
The Fleetwood boss was angry his side had let themselves and the fans down. He said: “I hope they are feeling bad about themselves and I think they are. They know they have let themselves down and the fans who have come down here. They let themselves, as team mates, down. You’ve got to stay as a group and show your team mates you’re in it for each other. We didn’t do that and now we’ve got to learn as a group and make sure we know what we’re doing for the rest of the season.”
One positive from the game was the performance of goalkeeping coach David Lucas who stopped a penalty and pulled out a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline respectable. Alexander was pleased to see his old team-mate in fine form, but disappointed at the number of chances Fleetwood gave away.
“David Lucas has made a couple of great saves. But they created too many opportunities for us to be happy.”