One goal was enough for Fleetwood Town to win away to League One promotion rivals Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday but boss Joey Barton said he was disappointed his side did not score more.
But the Cod Army head coach was delighted to see his team register three league wins on the bounce for the first time this season, especially after Ched Evans’ second-half red card.
That did not prevent Paddy Madden notching his 19th goal of the season 15 minutes from time to secure the points at Adams Park.
Victory leaves Town still ninth but just two points outside the play-off zone.
“It’s just another win for us,” admitted Barton. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win by four or five, to be honest. That’s how far ahead of them we were.
“We should have been 3-0 up in 15 minutes. We hit the bar and their keeper kept us out.
“It was backs to the wall after being so dominant in the game – hitting the bar three times and seeing other opportunities spent.
“The lads came through for each other. That’s not down to coaching – that’s down to determination.
“I thought we were outstanding in the face of some adversity. That shows a lot about the group and I’m so proud of them.”
Hosts Wycombe had gone into the game second in the table. They have now slipped to fourth and Barton added: “I have the utmost respect for Gareth (Wycombe boss Ainsworth) and he has a group of players here who never say die. They’re a difficult team to beat, especially at home.
“We know our qualities and if we operate at the level we know we can, then we can challenge anyone.”
Evans was dismissed on 68 minutes for elbowing Jason McCarthy and Barton said: “You see your striker sent off and you think it’s going to be one of those nights, especially with some of the decisions being made by the officiating team.
“You go from thinking you’ll comfortably win it to wondering if you can hang on. “Then you see Adebayo Akinfenwa come off the bench and you know it’s going to be route A up to him every time.
Town continue their four-match run of games against teams above them when Peterborough United, who have replaced in Wycombe in second spot, visit Highbury on Saturday.
“We had one defeat in 11 coming into the Wycombe game and two wins on the spin,” reflected Barton.
“We know if we want to be competitive in this division, certainly at the top end, then we have to come to places like this and showcase our quality.”