Climb out of drop zone gives Fleetwood a big lift

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley

Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley was pleased to climb out of the League One relegation zone with Town’s second successive goalless draw.

It was no nearly three points at Port Vale as Antoni Sarcevic, returning to action after a fortnight sidelined by hamstring trouble, blasted against the underside of the bar early in the second half.

His 20-yard drive bounced down and possibly crossed the line but a goal was not awarded - one of very few chances in a Vale Park stand-off between two sides who don’t like losing.

Fleetwood are fast becoming League One’s draw specialists, and although wins are needed to pull them clear of the drop zone, Pressley was pleased with another point which lifted Town above Chesterfield and within three points of Blackpool.

And he was encourged by the performance of debutant Shola Ameobi, who brought composure and creativity to Town’s attacking line.

“The performance was resilient,” said the Fleetwood boss.

“We worked hard on and exceptionally large pitc, which stretches your team. Our organisation and determination was good.

“In the first half we didn’t pass the ball well enough or counter with good speed.

“In the second half, particularly for 20 minutes, we did it to good effect, particularly when Shola got hold of the ball and we were able to build from him.

“We had a couple of really good moments when we could have scored, and if we had done I believe we’d have won the game.”

Other than Sarcevic’s shot, Bobby Grant had Town’s only other real chance, forcing a superb save from Jak Alnwick following neat build-up play by Ameobi and Conor McLaughlin.

But it’s that long-range thunderbolt which had everyone talking. “It’s a real 1966 moment,” joked Pressley in reference to Geoff Hurst and the Russian linesman.

The manager was full of praise for the returning Sarcevic. “It was very positive play,” he said.

“The way the ball came down (off the bar), it looked like it went forward but it’s very hard to see.

“I thought he was excellent given that he’d been on the treatment table for a couple of weeks. He played with real purpose.

“But when you come here and they’ve not lost in 11, it’s a good point.

“It’s another clean sheet - that’s encouraging. It’s two on the trot without losing a goal.

“But there’s no doubt we have to find that all-important finish at the other end.”

Town leapfrogged familiar foes Chesterfield, who lost to leaders Burton on Friday evening, climbing out of the bottom four on goal difference.

Pressley added: “We moved out of the relegation zone and that’s given us a little boost.

“We’ve had so many draws over the period it’s been quite incredible. But a positive is we’ve moved out of the relegation zone with games in hand, and that’s a plus to us.”

The Valiants’ chances were equally limited - Chris Maxwell saving from Sam Foley and Theo Robinson in the first half and from Ajay Leitch-Smith in the second half but the keeper was

otherwise unfazed.

Pressley was pleased with the effort at the back. He said: “Maxi’s goalkeeping was very assured. We didn’t give up a lot of chances.

“We talked about how they like to get crosses in the box and we dealt with that really well. They stretch you but another clean sheet breeds confidence.”