Manager Steven Pressley demanded that his Fleetwood Town players take more responsibility after a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Rochdale last night.
Joe Bunney’s 12th-minute goal was enough to secure victory for the hosts at Spotland, where Fleetwood’s injury crisis deepened as Stephen Jordan and Tyler Forbes both limped off with hamstring problems.
Town hit the bar in the dying moments, sub Wes Burns nearly grabbing an equaliser.
A point would have seen Town overtake neighbours Blackpool. Instead they remain outside the League One drop zone on goal difference.
Manager Pressley was frustrated by another setback and said: “The most important thing was the three points and we’ve come away without them. It was a big chance missed by ourselves. I spoke beforehand about the importance of the game.
“We’re really disappointed. We certainly shouldn’t have lost the game but we have to win these games. There’s no excuses. I didn’t think we played at our top but we still did enough.”
Fleetwood enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but didn’t do enough with the ball.
And Pressley pointed the finger at his squad, making it clear they couldn’t leave it up to their team-mates
He added: “We had enough of the ball but not enough of our players took responsibility to make it happen.
“I thought at times we took easy options. We weren’t positive enough in possession.
“I’m disappointed with that because it was about the three points.
“At the moments we had to be positive we weren’t positive enough.
“I’ve spoken a lot with the group lately about switching into the wide areas when we get the ball. We need to be aggressive and positive with that.
“Too many of us were looking to the next player to make it happen. We had to do better.”
This wasn’t the first time Fleetwood have thrown away a chance to haul themselves clear of the danger zone. And Pressley likened the Rochdale defeat to derby day at Bloomfield Road in November, when the outcome was the same.
“This was very much like the Blackpool scenario,” said the Fleetwood boss.
“We’d had a couple of good results. We had a real chance to build momentum. We had a real chance to put daylight between ourselves and those in the bottom four.
“We have to respond in the right manner.”
The game might have been very different had Dale’s Ian Henderson been shown red for lashing out at Jimmy Ryan before the break.
Referee Darren Handley only showed the Dale skipper yellow, also booking two Town players as they remonstrated over the challenge, in which Henderson made no attempt to play the ball.
Pressley said: “I felt it was a clear sending-off. There were a couple of incidents in the box that were clear penalties that weren’t given.
“But I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We have to come here and we have to win.
“I’m not going to accept the result. I’m not happy with the result and we’re going to do something about it.”