McLaughlin: My goal could be vital for Fleetwood
Fleetwood hero Conor McLaughlin says his last-gasp equaliser at Southend could be crucial come the end of the season.
The bottom of the League One table is incredibly tight, with just four points separating Chesterfield in 17th (49 points) and Blackpool in 21st (45).
Pool occupy the last relegation spot, while Town are one point above them and one behind Oldham, who they face on Saturday.
The situation would change if Oldham picked up a fourth win on the spin at Barnsley tonight. That would leave Latics five points clear of Blackpool with a game in hand and both clubs yet to visit Highbury.
McLaughlin, whose 90th- minute header sealed Town’s 2-2 draw at Southend on Saturday, is raring to face Oldham this weekend.
He said: “Saturday’s point could be massive in the grand scheme of things, but the lads weren’t happy that we let the lead slip in the first place and conceded two goals, so it is ultimately disappointing but it could be a big point.
“It is still so tight – a couple of teams won but Shrewsbury lost and Blackpool lost, so it is still very tight.
“That could be a big point but we have to go again on Saturday and be prepared for a massive game against Oldham.”
McLaughlin pounced on fellow full-back Amari’i Bell’s cross from the left after goals from Adam Barrett and Jack Payne had cancelled out Bobby Grant’s sensational 53rd- minute opener.
Barrett nodded in directly from a corner and Payne’s goal came after Town failed to clear the danger from a set-piece.
McLaughlin praised left-back Bell for the cross which led to his goal, but was disappointed to concede twice in that fashion away from home.
The Northern Ireland defender said: “Amari’i has put in a brilliant cross and I’ve just got myself in at the back post and managed to connect cleanly. Luckily it went in.
“We are disappointed because for the last six or seven months we have not really conceded from set-pieces.
“To concede like that was really disappointing, especially given the position we are in.
“Obviously the gaffer was not happy with that aspect but he praised us for the way we kept going. That is what we have to do from now until the end of the season.
“In the second half we came out strong and we looked comfortable at times. We just weren’t happy with the way we conceded.”
Town’s top scorer Bobby Grant added his 10th of the campaign with a left-footed screamer that crashed into the top corner.
And fellow goalscorer McLaughlin hailed the forward. He said: “We all know Bobby has got the quality to do that and he has put it right in the top corner.
“It was a brilliant goal from him.”
And boss Steven Pressley was also full of praise for Grant.
He said: “Bobby has got these moments of brilliance. He always looks like he can produce something.
“He had an incredible touch (to set up Wes Burns) on Tuesday night for the first goal and he had a wonderful finish against Southend.”
Grant has also missed opportunities since returning to the side at Swindon Town, after serving a three-match ban for violent conduct.
The forward has hit the woodwork several times and had a golden opportunity to put Town 2-1 up on Saturday from David Ball’s cross, though Town felt they should have been awarded a penalty for handball in the build-up.
But Pressley says Grant has made a difference to the side since he has teamed up with Burns in the last three games at the front of a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Pressley said: “Bobby had another brilliant chance, though it should have been a penalty kick.
“He has had a few of those chances in recent weeks and he scored from probably the hardest opportunity.
“But that is what he is capable of and that is why he is in the team.
“He can always make a difference and he is working really hard for the team.
“He is leading the line well with Wes and I’m really happy with his performances.”