BOSS MARVELS AT MAXWELL’S TALENT
‘Chris is capable of Wales call-up’
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