Kicked in the teeth – but the team has to respond

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Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander slammed a penalty decision and his team’s response following defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

The Dons were handed the lead four minutes before the break when Liam Hogan was judged to have handled in the area.

It was a body blow to Town who, up to that point, had bossed the game, rattling the woodwork and having a succession of chances cleared off the line.

Alexander was in no two minds about the spot kick.

He said: “We played well first half and made some good opportunities.

“There was a big scramble off the line just before they got the penalty.

“It was the same scenario as when we came here last season.

“Two cheap goals and a cheap penalty.

“I’ve got to be careful here, but it was the wrong decision.

“Simple as. It wasn’t a penalty, it’s supposed to be deliberate handball. That wasn’t deliberate, it wasn’t a penalty.”

“It’s wrong and I feel we wouldn’t have got it at the other end.”

From the re-start Town went on the attack but fell further behind to another freak goal, Luke Moore’s shot taking a huge deflection, Michael Smith nodding past a hesitant Scott Davies.

“You get kicked in the teeth twice,” said Alexander

“A big deflection lands on the big striker’s head and he manages to squeeze it in.

“It’s two goals in three minutes which is a kick.

“But as a group we have to respond better.

“I know how gutting it is when you play well and you get two goals against you and you think, how are we two down?

“I’ve been there as a player myself.

“You have to show the right response and we didn’t do that.”

Alexander vowed his side would learn from yet another Kingsmeadow defeat.

He said: “You’re going to get games like this over a season.

“We have to learn from this.

“Second half their endeavour and running got them in good positions and we have to match that and better it.”

And he reminded his side they weren’t the Premier League champions, but a League Two club with a need to battle.

“They were fighting for their lives last season,” said Alexander about the Dons.

“I know what the mentality is here and they are going to be doing that from day one.

“It’s what you’ll come up against at a lot of clubs.

“I think we should be fighting for our lives.

“There’s no gimmes, we’re not Man United.

“We should be doing everything we can to make sure we’re competitive.

“We didn’t play well at Hartlepool but we did everything to make sure we fought and competed and came away with three points.

“We played well this week in the first half but second half didn’t match that commitment.”

With Antoni Sarcevic, Stephen Schumacher, Ryan Crowther and Ryan Cresswell all missing from the starting eleven on Saturday, Alexander has had a tricky run with injuries.

And he knows, with such a fresh side, the impact that can have.

“We still have to improve,” he said.

“We have to be more consistent in the way we play.

“It’s still a new team, we’ve had to make a few changes in the last few weeks.

“If you’ve had a settled side after 10 weeks and you bring one in, two in, you can do that.

“We’re only five weeks in and it’s a new team and we’ve had to make those changes.

“But these are the things we work on in the training ground and we have to make sure we’re OK.”