Late goal a harsh lesson for Alexander’s Town

Mikael Mandron celebrates his first Fleetwood goal
Mikael Mandron celebrates his first Fleetwood goal

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander believes his side learned a harsh lesson from their last-minute 2-1 home defeat by York City.

Wes Fletcher, a former Burnley team-mate of the Town boss, snatched three points for the Minstermen with a breakaway winner in the second minute of added time, after loan striker Mikael Mandron had equalised with his first goal for Fleetwood.

Alexander admitted his side may have let their concentration slip, having taken four points from two of League Two’s top teams in the previous week.

He said: “When we’re mentally on it, we’re spot on and we’re more than a match for anyone in this division.

“We have to make sure that we’re at it whatever the weather, whoever the opposition, whatever the pitch, and the motivation to win games and not get beaten is there.

“The motivation was there on Saturday but we didn’t have the balance right. Maybe that’s because it was a game we were expected to win and that crept into some of the defending.”

The dropped points saw Town slip a place to fourth, and the manager believes Saturday’s late lapse is something his side haven’t been guilty of in recent weeks.

He added: “We’ve had setbacks in other games but we’ve stayed strong mentally.

“We’re just disappointed. The lads were thinking that they weren’t winning and didn’t have the lead against a team further down the table, and that left us exposed to concede.

“It’s a sharp, hard lesson for us.”

Conor McLaughlin’s own goal just before the break handed York the advantage only for Sunderland teenager Mandron to pull the home side level 19 minutes from the end.

Alexander admitted his side had conceded two poor goals. He said: “I thought the wind played a part in the first half and made it difficult for us to get out from being under pressure.

“But that’s no excuse for the goal we conceded. If the half- time whistle had gone before the goal, I’d have been happy to take 0-0 and a clean sheet. But we’ve conceded a terrible goal from our throw in,

“It’s sloppy play and that’s given them something to defend. It’s made us have to go and chase a goal.”

And Alexander was left shocked by the late winner, his side having ground down their opponents playing with the wind.

“The second half was what we expected,” he said.

“We pinned them in for long periods.

“We got the goal we deserved, could have scored another one, didn’t get it and conceded another poor goal on the breakaway.”

And he’s hoping Fleetwood can quickly revert to the habit of being hard to beat which has seen them rocket up the table since Christmas

“We keep speaking about it,” said Alexander. “If you don’t win, at least get the point. I think we lost a bit of our composure and our mindset, and our decision making was off, though we didn’t go gung-ho.”

As for York’s winner, he added: “If that had been in the first 10 minutes or against different opposition, that would have been dealt with.”

The defeat leaves Town six points behind leaders Chesterfield, who visit Highbury for tomorrow’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern final first leg.