Joey Barton praises Fleetwood Town’s players for eventually unlocking MK Dons’ defence

Ched Evans netted the only goal at Highbury
Ched Evans netted the only goal at Highbury

Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton was delighted after his side eventually grabbed a fully deserved victory against MK Dons.

Town remain fourth in League One after substitute Ched Evans notched an 85th minute winner, profiting after Dons’ keeper Lee Nicholls spilled Lewie Coyle’s cross.

Barton was delighted to triumph after the way that the Dons packed their defence at Highbury.

“I spoke to the lads before the game about the way we thought Paul (Tisdale, MK Dons manager) would play it,” said Barton.

“We thought they would employ a 5-4-1 formation and it did prove difficult to break down.

“I must give enormous credit to Paul and his players because there have been a few doubts about them and their results profile, but they defended their goal absolutely manfully today.

“Barring an unfortunate error from the keeper, they may have got out of here with a point.

“On the flip side of that, in terms of territorial advantage, we pretty much played in and around their box for almost the whole of the game.

“We definitely played in their half for a long, long period and we had many opportunities.

“At times we couldn’t find the final ball or the final pass, and that’s when your big players have to come and step up.

“Fortunately for us, we had players on the bench who could come on and change the game, and players who were already in the game who could affect it.

“Eventually our offensive prowess got us home, and I’m really pleased because we controlled so many aspects of the game.

“There was never a thought in our heads that we’d lose the game.

“We kept saying ‘we’re going to score, we’re going to win’, and thankfully we did.”

Barton’s players dominated throughout, and before Evans’ late winner, they had come close through Kyle Dempsey, Paddy Madden, Wes Burns and Jordan Rossiter.

The three points keep Barton’s men right in the League One play-off frame.

Barton added: “In order to unlock the MK defence we had to be patient, and that’s something that’s relatively new to Fleetwood in my opinion.

“It’s certainly new in my tenure here. Teams came last season and took us on.

“I think, now, they know that if they take us on here, there may well be a price to pay for that.

“Burton and other teams have already found that out this season.

“We’ve got professional respect for opposition teams here, but we’ve also got to find ways of breaking them down.

“We have to be more clinical in the final third, and better in many, many aspects of our attacking game, but then you have got that magic; that Paddy Madden, Ched Evans, Ash Hunter, Conor McAleny and Wes Burns who can win you games.

“Our complete game will stand in in good stead, though, for some of the bigger fixtures that lie ahead.”