Uwe Rosler had to wait for his birthday present, but the Fleetwood players eventually gave their boss the ideal one – a place in the second round of the FA Cup.
Town’s head coach had to endure extra-time on his 48th birthday before his side sealed a 4-1 win over Southport in their Highbury replay.
Striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway put Town ahead in the 34th minute only for substitute Ashley Grimes to equalise in the 87th minute for the non-league visitors.
But three goals in the first 10 minutes of extra-time from Cian Bolger, Ash Hunter and Amari’i Bell ensured Rosler had a happy birthday as Town prepare for back-to-back home League One games against Chesterfield and Shrewsbury, who they will face again at Greenhous Meadow in the second round on December 3.
Rosler said: “I think the most important thing in a cup-tie is to be in the next round. How we ended the first 90 minutes was not what we wanted.
“We conceded again very late but how we bounced back was tremendous.
“The players did a fantastic comeback and played like we know they can play.
“Over extra-time you saw which team was on the top. We just need to work mentally to make sure that when we are leading we do the right things.
“I felt we used the ball quite well. When they went to three strikers and stopped us having the ball as much as we had for the majority of the game, it got more scrappy.
“They got their goal, but I think over the majority of the 90 minutes we kept the ball well and were creative.
“I was happy with Devante Cole, very much so. George Glendon and Kyle Dempsey had another good game.
“But the main thing is we have again that winning feeling and we have now another two home games.
“I thought it was very important to start those three home games with a win and that makes it easier to recover and prepare for Chesterfield.
“Thank you to the players. They gave me the best present I could hope for.
“We now have a good feeling of winning a game again and I’m sure on Saturday we will be ready.”
And Rosler explained why he sent centre-half Bolger up front to replace Amadi-Holloway for the final 12 minutes of normal time.
“I think Cian was very effective against Bradford and Millwall,” he said. “He was probably not that effective (last night) but that is why we changed it to three at the back in extra-time. I think when we did that we got on top.
“Southport looked dangerous on long throws and set-pieces, and we have not many other alternatives on the bench in terms of height and power.
“Cian scored a goal, so it was not the worst situation.
“We took a gamble, played three against three at the back and our wing-backs (Amari’i Bell and Victor Nirennold) were very decisive. And with George Glendon and Kyle Dempsey in the middle, we always had quality on the ball.”