Frustrated Rosler must settle for cup replay

Debutant Godswill Ekpolo
Debutant Godswill Ekpolo

Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler says Town should have buried their late chances in last night’s goalless FA Cup tie at Southport.

Fleetwood must now add next week’s Highbury replay to their heaving fixture list to decide who will travel to Town’s League One rivals Shrewsbury Town in the second round next month.

The replay is expected to take place next Tuesday but Rosler feels it should have been avoided as Devante Cole, Ash Hunter and Cian Bolger all wasted chances in added time at Haig Avenue.

Rosleer said: “In the first half we did not create enough. In wider areas we were nowhere near aggressive enough with the ball.

“We still had enough of the ball I think and the two central midfielders (Jimmy Ryan and Kyle Dempsey) did a decent job.

“The centre-halves did a decent job too but we were nowhere near good enough to create better opportunities.

“The longer the game went on we got more and more on top. We had far bigger chances, especially in the end, and from those we should have won the game.”

Town must play twice more before the replay, including a Checkatrade Trophy visit to Carlisle tomorrow, but Rosler is happy they are still in the FA Cup.

He added: “I’m using 13-14 players at the moment and you can see that some players are in danger of picking up injuries. They are not going fresh into the games at times and it does not really help when we have three games in six days.

“They gave me everything. I’m happy in general and we will improve.

“We wanted to win and we didn’t want an replay. I had every offensive option on the pitch in the end and it nearly paid dividends.

“But we are strong opposition at home. We are the only team in the league to score in every game home and away.

“It was a tough game for us but now we have to get ready for tomorrow at Carlisle.

As for the smoke bombs thrown onto the pitch from the home end, and the flare which almost hit captain Nathan Pond, Rosler said: “I wouldn’t say it spoiled the whole game but it is unnecessary. You don’t need that.

“In a live game on television that is the last thing you want to see.”

Fleetwood gave a full debut to former Barcelona defender Godswill Ekpolo last night, little over an hour after confirming the 21-year-old’s signing.

The Nigerian spent 11 years with the Spanish giants before his release in the summer, captaining their U21s and becoming a B team regular.

Ekpolo slotted in at right-back for Town in the absence of Conor McLaughlin (international duty) and Michael Duckworth (injured).

He played the full 90 minutes and improved as the game wore on.