RINGING the changes paid off for Micky Mellon as his Fleetwood Town side returned to winning ways against Barnet.
The Fleetwood boss handed a first start to Alex Marrow, while David Ball and Tom Barkhuizen returned to the side – both ending up on the score sheet in the Cod Army’s 2-1 victory.
The manager admitted his hand may have been forced by injury concerns – Andy Mangan sidelined having picked up a knock in training, Jon Parkin struggling with a knee problem – but insisted he was more than ready to shake things up on the pitch if, and when, required.
He said: “We’ve got a good squad here, I always say to them if the opportunity is there and maybe we need to shake things up and change things I won’t hesitate in using them and getting them on the pitch.
“Andy Mangan’s injured, Jon Parkin hadn’t trained all week so we had to do something there.
“But I’m really pleased with the victory.”
On-loan Blackpool youngster Barkhuizen sealed victory for Town with 10 minutes remaining, the home side having been denied any number of earlier chances to put the game beyond reach, Jamie McGuire seeing one header saved and another come back off the woodwork.
Mellon said: “I’m really pleased for Tom, he’s only a young lad and it’s easy to forget that, but he’s done great getting across to the ball, we encourage him to get across there from crosses.
“The keeper maybe made a meal of it but he’s made up for that with some of the saves he’s made at other times in the game.
“We felt one of those chances for Jamie McGuire might have gone in, he’s had one saved and another he’s touched onto the post.
“Jamie’s as frustrated as anybody. “We play him in there because when the ball goes into the box he’s as aggressive as anybody.
“We knew we’d have the extra man in the middle of the park, so he can help us out if we need to there as well. He’s got so much energy and I think he’s unfortunate not to have scored.
Fleetwood conceded an early goal but were handed a way back into the game 25 minutes in when Graham Stack up-ended Ball inside the box earning himself a red card and Town a penalty.
Mellon said:”I’m disappointed with the early goal because we practiced that on Friday, that exact set piece. We warned the players and said this is what happens, this is what we do and people haven’t done their jobs.
“It was a penalty and it had to be a sending off.
Mellon acknowledged the difficulty of playing against 10 men.
He said: “When a side goes down to 10 men it has its plusses and minuses.
“You come up against two banks of four, or however they want to organise themselves and you have to be very, very patient and try and take the chances when you get them.
“When you miss chances like we have this season you can get impatient and start lumping things. But we got ourselves into some great positions and maybe the final ball was lacking but that’s something we can work on.”
A second-half cameo performance from Jamie Milligan helped the home side claim all three points, the midfielder first setting up Barkhuizen for the winner and then seeing his injury time free kick come back off the underside of the bar.
Fleetwood travel to York City tomorrow and Mellon is mindful he may need to make more tweeks to his side.
He said:”We’ve got 22 players. I think people think I’ve got players hidden away here but I’ve not.
“I’m pleased with the squad and if it needs to be changed on Tuesday we’ll look at that.
“There’s some ice floating about after this one, people have got various niggles. But that’s what they’re all here for, to play first team football, so I won’t hesitate in playing them.