Shutout a rea­son to cheer for Alexan­der

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah

A WEEK af­ter be­ing crit­i­cal of his Fleet­wood Town de­fence, boss Gra­ham Alexan­der couldn’t have been hap­pier with them this time out.

Seven days af­ter ship­ping three goals in de­feat at Bur­ton, the Cod Army de­fended firmly to shut out Hartle­pool and sneak vic­tory thanks to Jeff Hughes’ goal.

The re­sult means Pools have yet to score in League Two this sea­son and have just a sin­gle point on the board.

But Alexan­der was only con­cerned with his side, say­ing:“We worked hard for it, it was a very tough game.We de­fended more than I would have liked to and to come off with a win and clean­sheet is very pleas­ing.

“Last week we didn’t de­fend well enough for a pe­riod, but we did for the en­tire game here.

“The goal was against the run of play, but that’s football.We soaked up pres­sure and know we have a threat from mid­field and that’s how it came about – Jeff was there to fin­ish it off.

“But we gave away too many op­por­tu­ni­ties to Hartle­pool and we had the play­ers to stop them.’’

Alexan­der’s side sneaked the points on 15 min­utes. They should al­ready have been be­hind to a Steve Howard header – the striker only de­nied a goal when vis­it­ing skip­per Mark Roberts cleared off the line.

But at the other end An­toni Sarce­vic’s low, rak­ing shot was spilled by keeper Scott Flin­ders and Hughes was on hand to bun­dle in from close range.

Pools con­tin­ued to press, with Matty Dolan, mak­ing his de­but on loan from Mid­dles­brough, and Bradley Walker fir­ing in from dis­tance.

The vis­i­tors, how­ever, were a threat on the break with striker David Ball break­ing through and strik­ing against the frame of the goal from an an­gle, be­fore his goal­bound shot was di­verted wide by Chris­tian Burgess.

Pools chucked five play­ers up front for the clos­ing stages in a bid to en­gi­neer a break­through. The near­est they came was when Howard met a deep Jack Bald­win cross and his header was palmed away ac­ro­bat­i­cally by goal­keeper Scott Davies. De­feat left home boss Colin Cooper be­wil­dered and he ad­mit­ted: “It’s frus­trat­ing again – for what­ever rea­son we haven’t won a game and I feel frus­trated for the lads be­cause of it.

“The two teams who have come here and won (Southend and Fleet­wood) will be in the top few places and both have won here with­out hav­ing a kick.

“We just cant turn the in­gre­di­ents and chances into gen­uine goals. It’s not fall­ing for us, or maybe we aren’t do­ing enough for it to fall for us.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­

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