Joey Barton delighted Fleetwood strikers are firing on all cylinders again

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton was delighted with their scrappy 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 6:00 am
Paddy Madden celebrates scoring Fleetwood's winner at Wimbledon

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Victory left ninth-placed Town just three points shy of the coveted play-off spots ahead of tomorrow’s tasty trip to Wycombe Wanderers, who stand second.

“I’m really pleased,” beamed Barton. “We’ve come off the back of a few frustrating draws and just really wanted that one win.

“Lo and behold it was like the proverbial London bus – another one comes along quite sharply afterwards. It’s really nice to win football matches.

“Considering we can play much better than that, it’s really pleasing to win – that’s a sign of a really good side.

“When you’re not at your full capacity you find a way to win and get the points.

“We were thoroughly examined. We had a 19, 20 and 21-year-old in the back four.

“We were examined physically and you’re going to have to stand up and be counted to come away with the points at this stadium.”

Top scorer Madden won the game with his 18th goal of the season after 81 minutes, surprisingly his first since Boxing Day.

Fellow frontman Ched Evans opened the scoring and Barton was delighted to see the hard-hitting duo do the damage in the capital.

“All good goalscorers go through spells when it doesn’t quite happen for them,” added Barton.

“But for it to happen to both Ched and Paddy at the same time was strange and really frustrating.

“That was the main reason we didn’t win as many games as we should have.

“As we saw today, it’s usually Ched and Paddy who find the way of getting the ball in the net when there’s an opportunity presented.

“We had a run when we won one, lost one and drew a few, and you know for a fact that occurred because we didn’t have the form in the front players.

“To see Ched score last week (in the home win over Doncaster Rovers) you think, ‘At least we’ve got one of them scoring again.’ Then to see Pads score, you’re delighted.”

Barton’s second-half substitutions worked wonders, with Swansea City loanee Barrie McKay setting up the winner on his debut with a driving run into the box.

Barton said: “When you see the likes of Paddy, Barrie McKay and Paul Coutts coming on, you know you can make an impact off the bench. I think that was the difference.

“Wimbledon fought hard – as good as I’ve seen them play – but the ability to bring Paddy, Coutts and McKay off the bench for me swung the encounter.”