Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton saluted a hard-earned FA Cup second round victory at League Two Crawley Town on Sunday.
The Cod Army are now into the third round draw for the fourth season running after they eased to a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Josh Morris and substitute Paddy Madden.
Barton’s players have now successfully negotiated two tough away ties in making it through to the potential glamour stage of the competition – and the manager was full of praise after the game.
“It was the same at Barnet in the first round, that was a tricky tie too,” said Barton.
“We’d spoken to the lads all week about how tough they can be. You don’t just trot up and win.
“It’s the FA Cup, and the love of it historically comes from the upsets and the giantkilling.
“While I don’t think us against Crawley is quite a giantkilling for them, they were still up against a side higher up the pyramid.
“We had to come and navigate the tie, and I thought the lads did that superbly.
“I wasn’t nervous after Crawley equalised. Confidence comes from good preparation, and it was just a case again of executing things on game day.
“You saw our response to what has to be classed as a fortunate goal.
“It was a nice finish, but it was one of those where you dust yourselves down.
“We got the lads in at half-time and I just said ‘just trust what you do every day on the training ground and that’ll see us through’. Lo and behold it did.”
Town made it through to tonight’s third round draw without too many dramas.
Josh Morris bagged the opener four minutes before half-time as he slotted home from a tight angle after latching onto Ched Evans’ knockdown.
Ollie Palmer levelled it up just before the interval as he made the most of former Fleetwood striker Ashley Nadesan’s flick-on, but the visitors weren’t to be denied.
Midway through the second period, Madden tapped in his 15th goal of the season from an acute angle after Crawley keeper Glenn Morris had fumbled when under pressure from Evans.
It’s now five consecutive wins for the Cod Army, whose attention switches to Saturday’s meeting with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Barton added: “I am delighted to progress of course.
“It was a real squad effort. We didn’t come to Crawley under any illusions other than we wanted to win.
“That’s our fifth win on the spin, and we want to start transferring that momentum to our league campaign now.
“I guess the most pleasing thing for us as coaching staff is that we’re not using the same starting XI all the time too.
“We made six changes for the (EFL) Trophy game at Everton in midweek, and two more at Crawley, so we’ve utilised the whole squad, and the whole squad have shown that they’re bang at it at the moment.”