Fleetwood Town boss mourns missed chances

Jamille Matt and Antoni Sarcevic celebrate
Jamille Matt and Antoni Sarcevic celebrate

Graham Alexander was left to rue missed opportunities as his Fleetwood side were twice pegged back at Gigg Lane.

Antoni Sarcevic and Jamille Matt twice gave Fleetwood the lead away to a Bury side who have lost just three home games this campaign.

But a brace from Daniel Nardiello was enough to earn the Shakers a 2-2 draw.

Alexander’s men dominated the first half and had numerous chances to grab the lead.

“When you are on top you have to score goals,” said Alexander. “We were happy to get the one first half but we deserved to score more.

“We looked so dangerous from all the set-pieces we had. We’ve hit the post.

“Had we gone in two up, when they got the goal there would still have been a cushion.”

A point keeps Fleetwood well placed in the race for promotion, three points behind third- placed Rochdale who are yet to visit Highbury.

And they are only five points off top spot, with Chesterfield once agains dropping points.

The Shakers’ second equaliser came from the penalty spot after Charlie Taylor scythed down Nardiello.

The Bury man looked to have been forced wide when the challenge came in.

And Alexander admitted it had been a rookie mistake from the young defender.

He said: “Charlie will learn from it. It’s part of being a young player at this level.

“Every challenge is important. You’re playing against clever players. They’re going to see what you’re doing and wait for you and go down. The lad did that when we gave him the opportunity.

“But Charlie has been quality since he joined us. He’s a fantastic lad and it’s just one of those things for a young player.”

Fleetwood are now unbeaten in four – a good sign as they approach the business end of the campaign.

And Alexander believes the lessons of the season are finally beginning to hit home.

He said: “The players have taken on board what we’ve had to say about being hard to beat. Unfortunately we’ve conceded.

“But we’ve had to defend a lot of set-pieces over the last two games and I can’t recall Chris Maxwell having to make a lot of saves.

“Now we’ve got to continue the good work. Hopefully now we’ll keep scoring the goals.”

At least the seven-hour goal drought is most definitely behind Town, who will be buoyed by the fact Sarcevic hit the target for the first time since Fleetwood’s win at Rochdale in December.

Alexander insists he never lost faith in his young midfielder.

He said: “To be fair to Sarce, he’s been getting in great positions. He hasn’t hidden from the fact he’s not scored in however many games,.

“But he keeps getting in those positions and we knew it was only a matter of time.

“It was nicely finished and hopefully it will be the first of many more.

And there was reason to celebrate the performance of Josh Morris, who impressed on his first start, setting up Sarcevic for Town’s opener.

Alexander said: “Josh probably tired towards the end but he’s not played a lot of games.

“He kept posession really well and gave us a nice balance down the left side.

“He provided the first goal and worked so hard for the team.

“It was a really good performance.”

And now the Fleetwood boss is hoping for an end of season push for glory, starting at Highbury on Saturday when Portsmouth are the big-name visitors

“We’re still eyeing up the teams ahead of us,” Alexander said.

“Are we happy with fifth? No. We want to be in that top three and have to get the results to get us there.

“There’s a little bit of frustration we didn’t see that game out.

“We’ve given up the lead twice but we’ll go again Saturday. Hopefully results will go our way and we can get back in there.”