‘Chris is ca­pa­ble of Wales call-up’

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys

GRAHAM Alexan­der backed goal­keeper Chris Maxwell to force his way into the Wales reck­on­ing af­ter his late penalty save res­cued a point for Fleet­wood against Rochdale.

Maxwell saved Ian Hen­der­son’s stop­page-time spot-kick to en­sure a share of the spoils af­ter Jamille Matt had can­celled out Peter Vin­centi’s opener.

The for­mer Un­der-21 in­ter­na­tional watched from home as Gareth Bale fired his na­tion to the brink of Euro 2016 qual­i­fi­ca­tion but Alexan­der – who felt Fleet­wood de­served their point – be­lieves the 25-year-old could make the squad.

“I’m not go­ing to tell any man­ager who he should or shouldn’t pick but I know Max has got the qual­ity,” Alexan­der said.

“We know once he does get the op­por­tu­nity, they’ll see the qual­ity he’s got. Ever since he’s come into the team he’s been su­perb for us.

“It was a poor penalty to con­cede but we feel we have one of the best goal­keep­ers in the di­vi­sion and he made a fan­tas­tic save.

“I think a point was a fair re­sult. With Rochdale tak­ing the lead, I thought our play­ers never gave up and we were a thorn in their side in the last 20 min­utes. Jamille was the piv­otal fig­ure in that. I thought he was ab­so­lutely su­perb.”

Both sides had traded chances in the first half, with­out re­ally test­ing ei­ther goal­keeper – Tyler Forbes set­ting the trend when he dragged wide on 12 min­utes.

Calvin An­drew headed into Maxwell’s arms on 16 min­utes be­fore Jimmy Ryan shot wide from 20 yards as Fleet­wood coun­tered.

Andy Cannon then fired wide through a crowd of Fleet­wood de­fend­ers on 22 min­utes as Rochdale pressed hard.

Donal McDer­mott twice tried his luck from dis­tance for the visi­tors – shoot­ing well over af­ter a great first touch on 37 min­utes be­fore then drag­ging an ef­fort wide six min­utes later.

Dale were in front ten min­utes af­ter the break though, Hen­der­son turn­ing on the left wing and tee­ing up the per­fect cross for Vin­centi to head in from close-range.

Fleet­wood could have re­sponded just six min­utes later, but Jamie Proc­tor headed straight at Josh Lil­lis from six yards.

Vin­centi al­most dou­bled the lead on 66 min­utes, turn­ing onto his left foot when McDer­mott’s cross dropped for him at the back post be­fore shoot­ing just wide.

Proc­tor went close for the hosts again on 71 min­utes, bring­ing the ball down af­ter some pin­ball in the area be­fore clat­ter­ing the post with a left-footed ef­fort.

Lil­lis’ ac­ro­batic save de­nied Matt on 79 min­utes, af­ter the sub­sti­tute climbed to meet Forbes’ cross with a loop­ing header.

But Matt did level on 87 min­utes, ris­ing high­est at the back post to head in from fel­low sub­sti­tute Bobby Grant’s right-wing cross.

Fleet­wood’s hard work was nearly un­done deep in stop­page time but, af­ter Eg­gert Jon­s­son brought Vin­centi down in the area, Maxwell dived to his left to parry Hen­der­son’s penalty clear.

But Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill re­fused to be down­hearted, say­ing: “You could say I’m dis­ap­pointed but I’m also en­cour­aged.

“It was an ugly game. For me, Fleet­wood tried to make it an ugly game but we rose to the chal­lenge and played through that.

“We more than fully de­served to take the lead, and when we were at 1-0, if we’d got the sec­ond goal – it’s the old cliché – we’d have gone on to win the game.

“I thought we cre­ated enough op­por­tu­ni­ties to get that sec­ond goal and put the game to bed, but I’m re­ally en­cour­aged by what we’re try­ing to achieve.”

MATT FIN­ISH: Jamille Matt cel­e­brates Fleet­wood’s equaliser

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