Town boss demands goals

Fleetwood drew a blank at Walsall
Fleetwood drew a blank at Walsall

Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley is gutted his side left the Bescot Stadium empty handed but made it clear Town must improve in front of goal.

Goals from George Evans and Anthony Forde dumped Town out of the FA Cup, high-flying Walsall far from outplaying Town but making their limited chances in front of goal count.

Town have scored just once in four games - a problem Pressley is desperate to solve quickly - with Town back in cup action tomorrow night.

He said: “I’ve said to the players I’m devastated for them because our work rate, our endevour, our quality at times was terrific.

“We came to the league leaders and for the vast majority of the game dominated the game.

“But I’ve said to the players we can’t have performances like that.

“We’ve had some great moments in the game but we need more quality at the top end of the pitch.

“There’s no doubt about it.”

Jamie Proctor, Jamille Matt and Declan McManus all missed chances to keep Town in the hat for the second round draw.

But Pressley made it clear he expects better, insisting he won’t tolerate seeing hard work go to waste.

“It’s not a case of the strikers not working hard enough, they are working exceptionally hard for the team,” he said.

“But we had a number of really good moments.

“And we’ve got to turn those moments into goals.

“Otherwise I’ll be talking week-in, week-out about really good performances and not getting a result.

“But the encouraging thing is I’ve seen enough in this team to know we can be a really good team.

“We applied our press brilliantly, the three midfield players were brilliant in their work ethic

“Our control of the game was good.

“All these aspects I can’t ask any more.

“But I don’t want to be a manager who continually talks about good work, good play and losing games.

“That has to change.”

Fleetwood’s midfield trio bossed things against the Saddlers who were comfortable on the ball but created little over and above their two goals.

The introduction of Nick Haughton sparked a late rally for Town.

But Pressley praised all of his midfield men.

He said: “Eggert (Jonsson), (Antoni) Sarcevic and (Jimmy Ryan) have been superb for me since I came here and they were again.

“Nick Haughton when he’s come on has had an influence on the game, certainly applied himself well and created some good moments.

“But up until then we’d done equally well.”

Haughton’s arrival in the game inspired a late rally in which Town so nearly grabbed an equaliser, before the cruel blow of Forde’s injury time breakaway strike.

Pressley said: “Nathan Pond’s gone close, we’ve had scrambles in the goal mouth, we had a brilliant chance for Jamille Matt, an unbelievable chance, and a terrific chance for Declan McManus one one one, there’s a few good chances early in the game when I think we have to score.

“You ask did we create chances, I think coming to Walsall the amount we created was terrific and we just have to execute those.

“You can see what our supporters thought of the performance.

“It was a performance of real intent, a performance where I think they could see how hard the group is working towards results and we will get results if we keep applying that.”

The game was Nathan Pond’s 400th in a Fleetwood shirt.

And Pressley has been astonished by his skipper - now in his 13th season at Higbury - using him as inspiration for his pre-game talk

“I mentioned before the game that it was an incredible achievement for a player to reach 400 games at one club,” said the Fleetwood boss.

“That’s why I was so disappointed for the group.

“I said we have to win today for Pondy.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and he gave a fantastic performance.

“The way he’s come back from injury, long term, it’s a credit to himself because he’s kept himself so fit.

“He led by example and he should be really proud of his achievements.”