GRA­HAM GEARS UP FOR FI­NAL FUR­LONG

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Wright To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

FLEET­WOOD boss Gra­ham Alexan­der is strap­ping him­self in for a sprint fin­ish to the pro­mo­tion race af­ter a com­fort­able vic­tory over Ox­ford.

The Cod Army’s hopes were dealt a fur­ther boost as Ch­ester­field drew with New­port, mean­ing they are now three points off an au­to­matic spot.

The win at the Kas­sam Sta­dium was never re­ally in doubt once David Ball opened the scor­ing in the first half be­fore An­toni Sarce­vic’s fine sec­ond, and Ox­ford’s sea­son is in real dan­ger of pe­ter­ing out.

The U’s dropped out of the play-off places for the first time this sea­son af­ter a for­lorn per­for­mance and new man­ager Gary Wad­dock has lost his first three games in charge with­out his team scor­ing.

Alexan­der said:“We’ve got five games to go and we need to win as many as pos­si­ble to give our­selves the best chance.

“We want to get in that top three and this is a small step to­wards that – we’ve now got five big games to go and we’ll see where we are af­ter those.

“I thought we bossed it in the first half es­pe­cially and we could have scored be­fore we did and when we got the goal we de­served it.

“We’d have loved a sec­ond be­fore half­time to give us a bit of breath­ing space but that came in the sec­ond half with a great strike.”

Fleet­wood cre­ated the first open­ing when Iain Hume laid the ball off to Sarce­vic, whose low shot from the edge of the area was held by Ryan Clarke. The Cod Army de­servedly went ahead when Sarce­vic’s cor­ner from the left went just in front of Mark Roberts but Ball was on hand to bun­dle the ball in at the back post from a cou­ple of yards. The vis­i­tors should have ex­tended their lead when Ball sent Hume through oneon-one but his tame ef­fort was com­fort­ably saved by Clarke.

But they fi­nally did so early in the sec­ond half when Sarce­vic bril­liantly bent the ball into the top cor­ner af­ter a free-kick had been teed up for him.

Ox­ford were soon opened up yet again and they were res­cued by Clarke when he kept out Hume’s ef­fort from Conor McLaugh­lin’s chipped pass.

The life then went out the rest of the game some­what with Fleet­wood happy with their two-goal cush­ion and the U’s un­able to pose enough of a threat.

Wad­dock said: “At the mo­ment los­ing has be­come a habit – I don’t like that habit we have to turn it around very quickly.

“For the first 25 min­utes we were in the game with Fleet­wood but then they scored and I thought we de­flated.

“You could see the con­fi­dence go and we don’t have a lot of that at the mo­ment be­cause of what we’ve had thrown at us.

“We have to ad­dress that and we have to be men­tally stronger as well but we haven’t got a lot of time to put it right.“We have to make sure that we get back to win­ning ways quickly.”

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