Joey Barton's pride in Fleetwood Town after their win against Hull City
Two goals from hotshot Harvey Saunders, as well as others from Callum Camps and Sam Stubbs, deservedly saw Barton’s players triumph 4-1 on Friday night.
Had it not been for a fine double save from visiting keeper Matt Ingram, the rampant Cod Army could have won by more.
“I’m delighted, especially off the back of four defeats,” beamed Barton.
“I just felt something had changed in the build-up to this game, I felt my lads had got themselves together and were ready to deliver a performance.
“In my tenure here, especially last year, we’ve been very good against the bigger sides in the division. That’s what gave us the platform to build a promotion push last season.
“They hadn’t conceded a goal coming in and were riding a crest of a wave. But my challenge to the lads was to get them on the back foot.
“They were probably fortunate to get out of that 4-1, we could have won 5-1, 6-1 or 7-1.
“We could have easily had at least one penalty, if not two, and their keeper has had to make two really good saves.
“I’m really, really proud of the lads and pleased with the performance. That gives us a platform now to kickstart our campaign.
“They’re a good side and come down from the Championship, so that’s a good result for us.”
Barton had made six changes from the team which thumped Aston Villa’s U21s 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Saunders did the damage in midweek with a fine hat-trick and the 23-year-old was on fire again as he made it six goals in three games.
The former Darlington youngster hadn’t scored a senior goal before this season but he scored a superb solo effort to put the hosts in front after 17 minutes.
He bagged his second of a successful evening with a clever finish from a Ched Evans cross to effectively put the contest beyond the visitors’ reach with 23 minutes remaining.
Hull were unbeaten in four and hadn’t conceded in just over six hours of football but Fleetwood tore up the form book to climb 15 places in the standings ahead of the weekend round of fixtures as their opponents missed the chance to go top of League One.
“I thought their (Hull’s) form was maybe built on a bit of unsolid foundation,” stressed Barton.
“I challenged the lads to get at them because they hadn’t conceded, if you are successful then you’ll rattle their cage.
“Historically they are a team that has lost in the past, that’s why they are in our division.
“I felt that if we could get them thinking like that again, which we did, they may well give you the chances and the opportunities to take the game away from them.
“Our lads just grew and grew into the game. I thought the level of football we played was outstanding. I think 4-1 flatters them (Hull).”