Alexander warns Exeter strategy will be blueprint

Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander warned Exeter City’s mission to frustrate is a sign of things to come at Highbury.

The Grecians set out their stall to defend until they went a goal down 20 minutes from time, battling back to win 2-1 thanks to a late brace from Scott Bennett.

And Alexander, who was disappointed to see his team surrender their lead for the first time this season, warned visiting sides may use Paul Tisdale’s strategy as a blueprint for success.

“It’s a lesson for us,” he told The Gazette. “You don’t crack football, you have to work hard every day. You can’t take your foot off the pedal. It was an odd atmosphere around the game but that’s partly because you need two teams to attack.

“Fair play to Exeter, they came here and got three points from a tough away game.

“But that’s probably a precursor, if we do stay up where we are, teams will come here with a different game plan and it won’t be so open.”

Exeter set out to deny Town chances, but Alexander believes his team did themselves no favours by being drawn into the visitors’ style of play. “It was a frustrating day,” he admitted.

“First half you had Exeter playing in a way to frustrate us.

“They did that, we still played some good football but not quick enough. Exeter’s style lulled us into having a little too much time on the ball.

“We should have been playing quickly. You could feel frustration going around the place but that’s part of expectation levels being lifted because of our recent form.

“Second half we started positively, deservedly went in front. Then we took a backward step. We went backwards in our mentality to protect a 1-0 and playing a different way instead of carrying on trying to make opportunities.”

The half-time break was key to changing Fleetwood’s philosophy, Alexander urging his men to go on the attack - a strategy which paid off when substitute Blair fired home from Conor McLaughlin’s ball across the box.

Alexander said: “We used half-time to change our thought process rather than anything else.”