Fleetwood’s Oakwell victory ‘massive’

Conor McLaughlin celebrates his first Football League goal with Nick Haughton
Conor McLaughlin celebrates his first Football League goal with Nick Haughton

Graham Alexander hailed a momentous win as Fleetwood Town once more closed in on the top six in League One.

Conor McLaughlin scored his first ever Football League goal and Liam McAlinden ended a four-month drought for Town’s strike force as Town battled back from an early setback at Oakwell.

Barnsley were ahead after just four minutes, Peter Ramage firing home after Chris Maxwell couldn’t hold a Conor Hourihane free kick.

Town’s fightback was one which filled their manager with pride.

“It was superb,” he told The Gazette.

“The players were magnificent apart from the first five minutes when we were under the cosh.

“We conceded a poor goal by our standards, the free kick but we just took five or 10 minutes to get into it.

“Once we did we settled into it and stretched them and played some good football and scored two goals which won us the game.

“We’re so pleased because the boys have been fantastic and it’s a great win for us.”

McLaughlin’s leveller, just before the quarter hour was the turning point, a moment from which Fleetwood never looked back.

Alexander said: “He’s put the ball in on Saturday for the equaliser and that surpasses that.

“It’s a great strike to get us back.

“It was a good time because it’s not too long after they’ve taken the lead.

“You have to impose yourself on a game quickly when you come to a place like this.

“We did that, it’s a great set piece and then it’s finished well.

“Then Liam’s got the second.

“Everyone’s contributed, all the lads, they’ve played their part in a fantastic win.”

From there Fleetwood took control of the game, limiting Barnsley’s chances and turning the home crowd against their side.

Alexander said: “We recovered really well, our composure came back.

“We just did the right think at the right time.

“The workrate of the lads in the midfield was superb, the back four, the keeper and even the front two worked so hard to keep the pressure off.”

The composed performance, particularly in the second half impressed Fleetwood’s manager.

Alexander said: “It’s a case of managing the game right.

“We don’t like to sit deep and encourage passes.

“The home side gets a surge from the crowd, there were a few decisions which went their way.

“But we stood up to that, we were constantly looking to see if we could get a third.

“We didn’t need it but it’s a massive experience for these players to come, to this sort of club here and win having gone behind so early,.

“It will stand them in good stead for a long time.”

Town now sit one point off the play-offs and Alexander is excited about the future for his Fleetwood side.

He said: “I’ve never questioned the mentality of these players.

“We don’t always win but their mentality, their attitude towards the game has never changed, their spirit has never dropped and that’s what gives us great hope for the future.”