Fleetwood boss Stephen Crainey rues 'sloppy' start against Oxford

Frustrated Fleetwood Town boss Stephen Crainey stressed his team cannot keep shooting themselves in the foot if they are to avoid relegation to League Two.

By Mike Glendinning
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 9:20 am

Read More

Read More
Fleetwood 2 Oxford 3: Fightback in vain after nightmare start

The Cod Army were caught napping as play-off contenders Oxford United blew them away with three goals inside the first 15 minutes at Highbury on Good Friday.

Town narrowed the gap to a single a goal but defeat meant Fleetwood slipped into the bottom four.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Stephen Crainey thought Fleetwood deserved something out of the game against Oxford Picture: SAM FIELDING/PRiME MEDIA IMAGES

Nathan Holland, Camaeron Brannagan and Billy Bodin all struck during the U’s blistering start at Highbury.

Ellis Harrison pulled one back from the spot just before the break and the game was on when Cian Hayes scored eight minutes into the second period.

Crainey said: “The reality is we can’t start games the way we did.

“You can’t give a team a 3-0 lead, especially a team like Oxford who are up there. They’re pushing for the play-offs, they’re a good side.

“I don’t think the situation is getting to the players. I think that sometimes that can happen in football.

“It’s hard to pinpoint what it is but it’s sloppiness from our point of view and we’ve conceded three sloppy goals.

“We never really made them work for their opportunities, which is simply disappointing.”

Having battled their way back into the game, Fleetwood had chances to salvage a shock point.

“I thought we deserved something out of the game,” added the Scot. “We need to keep showing that fighting spirit.

“The second half was real grit and determination from the group, so I feel sorry for them for not getting something out of the game.

“We reacted too late in the game, but in the end I thought we deserved something out of the game with the mentality the group showed.

“The last 15 minutes of the first half we started to get on top. At half-time I told them if we could get the next goal we had a right chance of getting something out of the game.

“We had a right few efforts on goal but we never got that lucky break to get that equaliser.”