Points not places matter for Town boss Alexander

Jamille Matt sets up Fleetwood's winner at Fratton Park Picture: Derick Thomas
Jamille Matt sets up Fleetwood's winner at Fratton Park Picture: Derick Thomas

Fleetwood Town sit second in the League Two table today following a fine victory at Portsmouth.

Not that manager Graham Alexander is looking.

Only points matter to the Fleetwood boss, who watched his side pick up a third consecutive league win – the first for the club since promotion - in front of nearly 16,000 at Fratton Park.

He said: “It’s the points, honestly. I’ll say it and keep saying it and probably bore everyone every week. We’re only interested in points right now.

“If we’re in this league position on the last day of the season I’ll be buzzing.

“But there are a lot of games to go and we’ve got to keep up the levels of performance.

“If we do that I think we’ll get the results to go with it.

“We’re not looking at league tables, we’re really not.”

It was an impressive display from Fleetwood, who soaked up first half pressure from Guy Whittingham’s side before taking control of the match.

A sustained period of pressing after the break brought results, Jamille Matt forcing Sonny Bradley to turn the ball into his own net.

“We had to work hard,” admitted Alexander. “We’re happy with 1-0. It’s great score.

“We’d maybe have looked to have got a couple more but as long as we defend solidly throughout the entire team one goal is enough.

“We were a threat at other times and could have taken the lead further.

“But we definitely edged it and deserved the three points.

“We kept them at arm’s length for good periods of the game.”

And Alexander was pleased with how his squad handled the occasion of the visit to Fratton Park, playing in front of a crowd five times the size of their average home gate.

The Fleetwood boss insisted it was in his players’ nature to make the most of the day.

He said: “These stadiums are great. If you don’t want to come and play in an arena like this, on a pitch like this in front of a crowd like we had then there’s something wrong.

“We didn’t mention anything about that. We spoke about our team, their team and how we were going to beat them and the lads stuck to that. I’m sure our supporters enjoyed the occasion.

“We’re really pleased to come here and get three points.”

Particularly pleasing for the Fleetwood boss, a former full back, was the clean sheet on the south coast – one he dedicated to his whole team.

As for the goal, he revealed Jamille Matt’s attempts to add it to his own tally had been shouted down in the Fleetwood changing room

“It still don’t know how it’s gone in,” admitted Alexander.

“Jamille has been in there trying to claim it but there’s 16 other lads in there telling him to do one because there’s no way it’s his.”

Matt almost wasn’t on the pitch when he forced the Pompey error, struggling with injury, he was about to be replaced by David Ball at the next halt in play.

“He was struggling before the goal,” revealed Alexander.

“I think it was something that happened in a challenge about 10 minutes before.

“It was gradually getting worse and we were about to take him off when he caused the goal - he didn’t score it..

“We thought about leaving him on for a bit but he couldn’t.

“We’ve got a great replacement in David Ball.

“He came on and was a real threat as well.”

But the Fleetwood manager knows Matt won’t be wanting to spend much time on the sidelines, such is the battle for places at Highbury.

He said: “I don’t think anybody wants to come out of the team or out of training for a day because they know there are lads waiting in the wings.

“It’s so hard making sure they are ready when that opportunity comes.

“As a professional you have to be ready to take that.

“I’ve told them if they take their chance they keep the shirt .

“That’s the mentality and that’s what’s driving them.”

Particularly pleasing for the Fleetwood boss, a former full back, was the clean sheet on the south coast - one he dedicated to his whole team.

Alexander told The Gazette: “The centre halves were great but so were the fullbacks and Stephen Schumacher in front of them and Scott (Davies) in goal.

“Jeff Hughes and Antoni Sarcevic do a huge amount of running, I can’t say enough of the wingers and Jamille has done a great job up front.

“I can’t speak highly enough of all of them.

“They deserved that clean sheet because I don’t think we really should have conceded in the last two.

“It was enough to get us the three points.”

It was a battling display from Fleetwood, similar to the win at Hartlepool last month.

But Alexander believes on this occasion there was far more quality from his charges.

He said: “We played a lot better than we did at Hartlepool.

“That was a win of sheer mentality.

“We played some really good football this weekend.

“But that’s not to say we didn’t need to fight for it.

“There were times when we needed to get tackles in, blocks in, to be clashing heads and we did that.

“You need to do that because that’s how you win football matches, especially tough ones.

“I can’t be more proud of my team today.”

Town face Exeter City at Highbury next weekend and Alexander and his team will be doing their best to keep feet on the ground.

“It’s a balancing act between being confident and being arrogant,” he said.

“We have to make sure we work as hard as we have done Monday to Friday.

“That’s what we’ll keep doing.

“We won’t get carried away.”