Steven Pressley was delighted to see the result match the performance as Fleetwood Town kicked off 2016 with a 2-0 home win over Bury which lifted them out of the League One relegation zone.
A familiar story seemed to be developing as Town missed a host of first-half chances – Dionotan Teixeira’s effort was blocked on the line and Nathan Pond hit the bar.
But Ash Hunter’s second goal in three games – a cool finish from Antoni Sarcevic’s long-range pass – set Fleetwood on the road to a victory secured by Bobby Grant’s delicate finish.
Pressley said: “It’s a hugely welcome win and a very much a deserved three points.
“I’m delighted for the players because I’ve been saying for a long time that I don’t think they can give any more than they’ve been giving. I said it to them at half-time.
“But we needed to turn performances into wins. I was really pleased with the group – their level of performances was fantastic.
“There was great determination, great resilience and most importantly we won the game. Saturday nights are always better when you do that.
Pressley used the club’s recent frustration in front of goal as a motivation for his side.
He explained: “I told them we can’t continue to work as hard as we do and end up with nothing at the end of the game. It can’t be that old story.
“We showed a great mentality in the second half . It was 2-0 but it could have been many more.
“I’m really pleased but the most important thing was winning.
“We found ourselves in the bottom four before the game and we’re under no illusion. I told the players before the game that we can’t hide from that.
“We have to face up to it, and have the courage and belief to keep playing, even though we’re at the wrong end of table. We did that.”
The two sides put on an entertaining display, Fleetwood building from the back with confidence.
It’s a risky strategy but Pressley is committed to winning ‘the right way’.
He said: “When you’re in the position we’re in, it’s easy to resort to what you’d call percentage football.
“But for me, the football with the highest percentage chance of winning is the right football.
“We’re trying to play a little differently and I know the fans get nervous when we try to play it out, but that’s understandable with our predicament.
“But the players showed a lot of belief and courage, and I’m really proud.”
Scorers Hunter and Grant started alongside Jamie Proctor as Pressley decided to let statistics do the talking in the hunt for goals.
He told The Gazette: “I looked at the fact that we weren’t taking our opportunities and went with the three highest scorers up front.
“I had to make the selection from five players and I chose the three that gave us the best goal return.”