Maxwell putting promotion push ahead of personal glory

Chris Maxwell with Matty Hughes and Nathan Pond
Chris Maxwell with Matty Hughes and Nathan Pond

Fleetwood Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell insists his personal clean-sheet record isn’t important after his third on the bounce helped Town to a 1-0 victory at rock-bottom Torquay.

The Welsh keeper pulled off a number of crucial saves and Jamille Matt sealed the win with 16 minutes remaining.

It was Maxwell’s 21st clean sheet on the season, including those kept during his loan spell at Cambridge United.

But the stopper insisted the result, which lifts Town to fifth and within four points of the top three in League Two, was far more important.

Maxwell said: “It’s fantastic to see stats like that on paper but it means nothing if we don’t get promoted.

“It’s all very well talking about personal achievements but football is all about team achievements.

“If I can keep the ball out of the net and we get three points, as we did on Saturday, then happy days.

“But we’ve got to make sure we win, no matter how. Three clean sheets on the bounce is fantastic, especially after the home defeat to Plymouth.

“Now we’ve got a platform to build on and it’s looking positive.”

Town travel to struggling Bury tomorrow and the former Wales U21 keeper believes defensive strength is key to their continuing to climb the table.

He added: “We think about automatic promotion every day. You have to think, ‘Why not?’ I can see us pushing on from here.

“Nobody seems to want to win this league. People are dropping points and teams are scrapping at the bottom.

“We’ve just got to make sure we don’t let the ball go in our net andwe nick a goal or two when we can. I’d take a 1-0 every week for the rest of the season.”

Town’s players flew down to the South West on Friday, while the manager, backroom staff and some substitutes made the arduous six-hour journey by coach.

Maxwell admitted preparations had been far from ideal, particularly after a midweek trip to Newport.

He said: “It’s difficult for us northern lot coming down here. It’s a long journey and the preparation is going to be difficult, but we’ve managed to come through it.”

Manager Graham Alexander to see his side end a seven-hour goal drought at Plainmoor. He said: “We’ve come to a club bottom in the table. You can see the effort they’ve put in and they’ve made us work for the win.

“But if we’d taken a couple of the chances we created we could have made it a little easier for ourselves in the last 10 minutes.

“Everyone who has been part of it today has given everything for the team.”

Alexander was relieved to see his side’s second-half pressure pay off. He said: “It’s great work from Jon Parkin to put the ball through and a good finish from Jamille.

“I’ve got real confidence in the players we’ve got at this club and it’s a fantastic ball.

“It’s the second chance Jamille’s had within a couple of minutes and before that Antoni Sarcevic has hit the post. Jamille’s been injured for four months. We’ve been patient with him. We know he can score goals.

“We were a little disappointed in him before the break and told him that at half-time. After that you’ve seen the real Jamille Matt.”

Fleetwood hadn’t scored in four league games, and Alexander believes the introduction of Matty Hughes and Josh Morris helped make the difference.

He said: “We’ve been looking for that break in front of goal. To hit the post was frustrating but we just had to encourage the lads to keep on going.

“The substitutions gave us a bit of extra width and gave us that space for Parky to slip Jamille through.”

And the boss stressed the efforts to keep Torquay out must be repeated over the remaining 11 games.

He said: “You could see what it meant to the players to keep that clean sheet.

“That’s what it’s going to take. If we think we can give 90 or 95 per cent, we’re going to get punished.”