Graham Alexander was left cursing the loss of one striker and praising another after Jamie Proctor’s stunning second-half cameo sealed Fleetwood’s 2-1 victory over Crewe.
Premier League loan ace Stephen Dobbie limped off at half-time at Highbury, having taken a bash in the Alex box.
Dobbie will have an x-ray today and is likely to miss at least two weeks with a heavily swolen and bruised ankle.
He was replaced by former Preston frontman Proctor, whose impact was immediate, setting up one and scoring another in a stunning 10-minute spell after the breakto secure victory in Town’s first ever encounter in League One.
Manager Alexander faces a nervous wait on Dobbie, who played on for a short time with his injury but may miss tomorrow’s trip to Rotherham in the Capital One Cup.
The Town boss said: “It’s been the story of our pre-season. There are a few boys on the injury list and it’s disappointing.
“After bringing in Stephen Dobbie on Thursday, we were hoping to get 60 or 65 minutes out of him because he hasn’t played loads of games. Now he’s got a knock on his ankle.
“Jamie Proctor’s come on at half-time, a little bit stung from not being in the team and tried to prove a point.
“He’s set the bar for himself. That’s the standard he’s set. Now he’s got to do it week in, week out.”
Proctor, a former Deepdale team-mate of Alexander, was one of the manager’s first summer signings.
And the Fleetwood boss is delighted the 22-year-old announced his arrival in such style. He said: “Football is about actions and doing. Jamie went out and showed us, the supporters and his team-mates what a strong running no.9 he can be. It’s up to him now to prove he can do that consistently.”
The story could have been so different had Crewe found the net first. The visitors hit the angle of post and bar less than a minute before Fleetwood grabbed their opener, leaving Alexander philosophical about the fine margins in football.
He added: “That’s what happens every weekall over the place. Those are the fine lines. But we showed good composure, didn’t get frustrated when we didn’t take our chances and scored two deserved goals.”
Town did concede at the death, Crewe converting their second penalty of the afternoon after Chris Maxwell had saved the first.
Both were conceded by young full-back Liam Hogan, and Alexander hopes the former Halifax defender will learn quickly from his mistakes. He said: “Liam’s not going to hide away from things – he’s made two mistakes. The second one is a little bit unlucky –he’s just on the wrong side and has tried not to foul him.
“But for the first he’s been a bit impatient. You’ve got to half give it up in that situation and hope somebody helps you out. But he’s a young lad, who is only in his second season as a pro.
“I’ve said to him that if you make a mistake and don’t make the same one again, that’s fine. But if you don’t learn from a mistake, we get concerned.”
Despite the disappointment of that late strike, Town’s manager was pleased with their first League One points. He said: “It’s three points, a good home win and a deserved one. I’m really pleased with the players.
“They went about their job in the right professional manner and on another day they could have scored a couple more goals.
“We’d have liked a clean sheet but all in all it was a good day.”