MUST WISE UP AND FAST
DISAPPOINTED Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander says his side need to be more streetwise if they are to clinch promotion.
The high-flying Cod Army lost vital ground on their rivals after a Matt Rhead header saw them slip to a 1-0 defeat at struggling Mansfield.
Rhead scored the only goal of the game after heading home Chris Clements’ corner on 31 minutes following poor defending from the visitors.
Alexander said: “We need to be more streetwise in games like this. We have played against all the top teams and not let ourselves down.
“We have lost against a couple of teams at the bottom in scruffy matches. Matches like this are important, It is very fine lines that decide our success.
“We were ok for the first 20 minutes, but we gave away a sloppy goal and it cost us.
“We were better in the second half when Matty Hughes came on. We just needed to take some of the chances that we created.
“It is disappointing that we have not built upon the momentum we created by beating Chesterfield in midweek.
“Matty Hughes was our best player when he came on. He had the right attitude.
“We plugged away in the second half and created some chances, we just couldn't take them.”
Battling Mansfield bossed large periods of the first half and nearly doubled their lead through Lee Stevenson and John Dempster.
Gareth Evans finally registered Fleetwood’s first effort on goal on 57 minutes with a tame freekick.
Alan Marriott was then at his best a moment later when he tipped over a dipping effort from Antoni Sarcevic as Fleetwood finally woke up. began to boss the game
Liam Hogan saw his powerful header well saved by Marriott on 75 minutes as the corner count began to mount for the Cod Army.
Jon Parkin smacked an effort against the post for the visitors on 84 minutes as Fleetwood’s saw their hopes fade
The win could have been even more emphatic for Mansfield had Sam Clucas, Matt Rhead or Ritchie Sutton converted their chances as the game became stretched in the closing stages.
The win lifts Mansfield to 17th spot and nine points above the League Two trapdoor.
Boss Paul Cox said:“We still need to be more ruthless and more positive on the break.
“But I can't have a go at them today. I thought our work rate was impressive and the way we coped with the conditions was excellent.
“But we are not shouting from the rooftops as it is only one win and consistency is the key.
“A nine point gap from bottom is nothing as there are a massive amount of points to play for.
“They are all big games now and it doesn't matter who we play as long as we stick to our principles. When we apply ourselves we are a force for anyone in this league.
“We now just need to find some consistency. Performances have been there for the last four or five games, now we just need to make sure we stay in this league and then have a look back at what it was all about.
“Everyone looks at the table. It's human nature, But it's all about what we do now.
“We have another big game on Tuesday and we need to build on this game.”
MANSFIELD: (3-5-2): Marriott 7, Daniel 8, Sutton 7, Dempster 7, Tafazolli 7, Westlake 6, Stevenson 6 (Hutchinson 87 N/A), Howell 7, Clements 7, Clucas 8 (Palmer 90 N/A), Rhead 8 Subs not used: Dyer, Beevers, Meikle, McGuire, Cain
FLEETWOOD: (4-1-3-2): Maxwell 6, Jordan 6, Roberts 6 (Taylor 69 5), Pond 6, Hogan 7, Goodall 6 (Hughes 45 8), Evans 7 (Allen 87 N/A), Marrow 6, Sarcevic 7, Mandron 7, Parkin 8 Subs not used: Davies, Murdoch, Cresswell, Taylor, Cartwright
STEADY: Mansfield star man Colin Daniel keeps his eyes on the ball as he competes with Antoni Sarcevic
STAR MAN COLIN DANIEL Mansfi