Matt battles to lead line

Jamille Matt
Jamille Matt
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Jamille Matt admits he’s having to keep one eye over his shoulder as the battle hots up among Fleetwood Town’s strikeforce.

Matt bagged a brace at Bristol Rovers but has been outpaced in the goal stakes of late by Jon Parkin, whose equaliser against Chesterfield was his third in three games.

And Matt, who arrived in January as the club’s record signing from Kidderminster Harriers, knows he’s being pushed all the way for his starting berth.

“It’s definitely keeping me on my toes,” he said. “I’ve said it about Bally (David Ball) too recently.

“We’ve all been pushing each other in training and in games, and I think people can see that.

“If Jon’s scoring, I’m happy because it means the team is doing well.

“I’m thinking, ‘He’s scoring, maybe he’s up for my place,’ but as long as it’s helping the team I can’t think beyond that.”

The striker credited Fleetwood’s fans for the part they played in pulling Town level against the Spireites, the terraces responding as Town went all out to get a result.

“There’s a lot of character in the team,” he said. “We were battling and the fans were almost sucking it in towards the goal.

“I’m happy for big Jon to get that. He’s been working hard in training and it’s great to have him in the team. He’s always going to score goals.”

Matt started up front on Saturday and was joined late on by Ball and Parkin as Fleetwood went all out to rescue a point.

For the 22-year-old it was, in the end, a point gained rather than two dropped.

He said: “It was always going to be one of those where both teams were fighting to show their dominance and show they deserved to be there at the top of the table.

“We fought and in the end we came out with a point. We were happy with that.

“When you go behind and you battle back, you’ve got to be happy to leave with what you can.”

And he was pleased to see Paul Cook’s league leaders change their own game to match Fleetwood – a sign, he says, of the respect Graham Alexander’s side are earning.

“I think they changed to nullify us,” he said. “That’s a testament to how we’ve been playing recently.

“We’re disappointed because we think we could have come away with all three points, just with a little bit more concentration.”

“We were trading punches. We were on top for a while but you’re not going to dominate a game against a side top of the table. They had chances but so did we.”

Had Nathan Pond’s first half strike not been disallowed, it might have been a different story.

But Matt was philosophical. “Pondy scored last week (in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy). He said to me he thought this one was in too.

“It was just offside and that’s the way the game goes.”

More than 4,500 packed into Highbury for the top of the table clash, not that Fleetwood’s target man had a chance to take in the atmosphere created by the club’s record Football League gate.

“It’s probably the biggest crowd we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he admitted. “But once you’re on you don’t think about it.

“You’re just in your own world. You can’t think about what’s going on off the pitch. It’s all about the performance.”

And he believes those who packed the terraces on Saturday saw a team who deserve to be sitting in the automatic promotion spots.

“We’ve shown we’re up there for a reason,” said Matt. “We’re resilient and we’ve got goals in us.

“Defensively we’re good, going forward we’re good and we showed on Saturday just why we are up there.”

Now it’s on to the next fixture, a Friday night game at Southend. And Matt is keen to keep up Fleetwood’s superb form on the road.

“This was our first draw of the season,” he said. “We’d either won or lost so far. But we want to be back to winning ways as soon as possible.

“We’ll go down there on the hunt for three points. It’s been all or nothing so far.

“We’ve been disappointed in a couple of games where we’ve let it go and suffered defeats.

“Most games we turn up and think we can definitely take three points. We’ve got a real fight about us.

“Lesser teams would have sat down after going behind on Saturday.

“We stood up and kept going and got the goal at the end.”