Fleetwood Town's defeat to Charlton Athletic was one match too many for Highbury players

Simon Grayson felt Saturday’s home defeat to Charlton Athletic was a game too far for his Fleetwood Town squad.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 8:00 am

The Cod Army went down 2-1, Jayden Stockley scoring the winner after an inch-perfect free-kick from Danny Andrew had cancelled out Jonathan Leko’s opener.

Town came close to a fourth straight draw but a desperate stoppage-time goalmouth scramble saw them unable to equalise.

Beset by injuries, Grayson admitted the draws at Cambridge United and MK Dons had taken their toll.

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Fleetwood Town lost to Charlton Athletic on Saturday Picture: Sam Fielding/PRiME Media Images Limited

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“It was one of those days,” he said. “We threw everything we could at it in the last 15 minutes but they defended their box really well, put their bodies on the line and that right at the end sums it up for us, it just wasn’t our day, unfortunately.

“I think the last two games and the travelling involved has caught up with us a bit.

“The urgency that we had recently wasn’t there and I think we can put that down to the games we’ve had and being down to the bare bones.

“It’s no excuse for losing but I think that played a part, certainly in the first half.

“They all gave everything for the shirt, and for each other, but sometimes when you’re throwing the kitchen sink at a team, you need a bit of luck to drop for you.”

Though this weekend’s game at Accrington Stanley is off because of international call-ups, Town still have a trip to Barrow in the Papa John’s Trophy tomorrow.

Given the injuries within his squad – and his five international absentees – the tie is one Grayson could well do without.

“It’s a competition that isn’t ideal for us,” he added. “It’s in the middle of an international period and we’ve got five lads from our under-23s that would be involved away on international duty. We’ll see who’s available on Monday morning.

“We’re very short on numbers and it means some of the lads who we don’t want to play in it will have to play.

“That’s the baffling thing about this competition, it’s an opportunity to play the younger players and we’ve got five of them away and we can’t play them.

“I think the planning needs looking at. The Under-21s from the Premier League clubs are coming into it to give their younger players experience, but their best Under-21 players will probably be away as well.

“I don’t know how you fit it into the calendar to get the fixtures done but it’s something we have to put up with and it’s not ideal.”

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