Izale’s the hero as Fleet­wood fire blanks

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Rod Gil­mour

CRAW­LEY were in­debted to Izale McLeod’s late goal, but de­feat was ul­ti­mately cruel on a lively Fleet­wood Town side who dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion but lacked the killer touch, ac­cord­ing to boss Gra­ham Alexan­der.

Top-scorer McLeod burst through in the 77th minute be­fore fin­ish­ing with a cute chip over Chris Maxwell for his third league goal of the sea­son as Craw­ley stopped a run of four straight de­feats.

Josh Wright, Keith Keane and Mat Sadler – re­turn­ing to the club on a one-month loan – all made their de­buts as John Gre­gory rung the changes fol­low­ing his side’s 4-0 ham­mer­ing at home to Rochdale.

The Cod Army were not with­out chances of their own and boss Alexan­der was left to be­moan his luck after the de­feat.

“We cre­ated loads of chances but didn’t take them and we got stung,” he said.

“We have to find that ruth­less edge to our­selves as I can’t think of a save Maxwell had to make.

“There was also a def­i­nite hand­ball with their goal but we should have been out of sight by then and it should have been a con­so­la­tion goal for them.”

Mean­while, Gre­gory ad­mit­ted that he had left his team “iso­lated” fol­low­ing that de­feat, but as­sis­tant coach Paul Groves praised his side’s work ethic.

He said:“In some of the games we felt that we had been the bet­ter team, had more pos­ses­sion and more of a cut­ting edge.

“But we rode our luck a lit­tle bit and that’s what mat­ters.

“The fans ap­pre­ci­ate and un­der­stand how hard the play­ers work and they put a real shift in week in, week out. Last week it all ac­cu­mu­lated in a very dif­fi­cult day for us.

“But you have to dust your­selves down and we man­aged to do that dur­ing the week.We made one or two ad­di­tions and we put last week to bed.”

The vis­i­tors were the more in­no­va­tive of the two teams in the open­ing ex­changes and Fleet­wood were nearly re­warded in the sec­ond minute. Matty Blair’s cross found an un­marked Stephen Dob­bie, who should have made more of his header.

On the half hour, Dob­bie and Jamie Proc­tor com­bined on the edge of the box but the for­mer lost his foot­ing and shot tamely.

The game was still in the bal­ance when Gre­gory re­placed Gavin Tom­lin with Lewis Young with 15 min­utes left. It proved a game-changer as mo­ments later Jimmy Smith’s flick sent McLeod through to dink over the keeper.

Fleet­wood had a fine chance to snatch a point in in­jury time but Pond failed to pick out Ball.

STAR MAN IZALE McLEO

D Crawle

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