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Club News

Focus On: Fleetwood Town

By Gerry Prewett

25 August 2017

On Saturday Bristol Rovers face one of the four teams with maximum points after three games, Fleetwood Town.

Uwe Rosler’s Fylde coast team have scored five goals and are yet to concede in those three games.

On Saturday the Cod Army faced AFC Wimbledon. On 19 minutes, midfielder Kyle Dempsey found space on the right and slid the ball over to Jordy Hiwula, who teed up Devante Cole to curl the ball home from the corner of the box.

Cole struck again in the 57th minute, another perfectly-weighted Dempsey pass released him on the left with the striker cutting inside and curling the ball into the top-right corner.

Speaking after the game Rossler praised Kyle Dempsey and Aiden O’Neill, “I think Kyle and Aiden look really good individually but also as a pair. Wimbledon are not the Wimbledon from last year.

They don’t have as many tall players but they still caused us problems on set-pieces.”

“They had a number of chances. I think that just mirrored our performance a little bit. I feel we need to be better in general but the main aspect is we need to play more football, especially when we are leading.”

“We need to show a little more confidence and more bravery because we can do it. I am not asking for something that we can’t do because we have shown it so many times. We played the result too early and it backfired.”

“We are happy with the three points and another clean sheet. We are not happy with the second-half performance.

After a good first half, when we had to cope with very difficult conditions and we coped really well, I was really looking forward to the second half. But as soon as Devante scored the second goal we stopped playing football.

“We played the result, we defended, we had not enough players who wanted the ball on the pitch and we forced problems on ourselves by inviting the opposition. We need to correct that mentality because that is not what we want. That is not the way we want to go forward because eventually, that will not lead to more wins.”

“But I address it already and we will address it this week. In general, we are happy that we got another three points and a clean sheet but we need to see the bigger picture.

The only way to go forward is by learning to keep the ball more and be brave under pressure.”

“When you are leading by two goals, what is stopping you going for the third and the fourth? In the second half, the performance from us was nothing to do with the conditions. In the first half, we had the wrong side, and we actually played on that side on purpose because we wanted to be strong at the end.

Rovers have had two wins, a draw and three losses in their six games against the seaside club. In 2012/13 the first season that the teams met the game at the Mem saw a steely 0-0 draw and Rovers came out on top in Lancashire as they returned victorious from Highbury Stadium with a 3-0 win, with goals by Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O’Toole.

In the game in Bristol the following season it was 0-0 until the 64th minute when Jamille Matt netted from close range to give the visitors the lead. That lead was short lived, as Rovers equalised just two minutes later. John-Joe O’Toole headed into the top of the net following a good cross whipped in from the left from Bond.

As Rovers pushed for the winner Fleetwood re-took the lead on 87 minutes, Matt scoring his second of the game from the edge of the box after good interplay with Antoni Sarcevic who opened up Rovers defence. In time added on the Cod Army got their third to seal the three points. Substitute Jon Parkin, scored an impressive volley from a tight angle.

When the teams met in March 2014 in Lancashire the home team repeated the score from their away victory.

Fleetwood took a 21st-minute lead when Rovers’ Skipper Tom Parkes tried to cut out a through ball some 30 yards from goal, but failed to control it and it fell to Sarcevic whose shot beat Steve Mildenhall with the aid of an apparent deflection off of Mark McChrystal.

With five minutes of the half remaining. Michael Smith blocked a shot from David Ball at the expense of a corner and when Morris swung the ball in from the left, the home skipper rose unchallenged to direct a header past Mildenhall.

Within six minutes of the second half, the game was over as a contest, a cross from the left found Ball in space and his header beat Mildenhall who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent it crossing the line.

Ellis Harrison pulled a goal back in the 79th minute from Lee Brown’s corner as he headed in his first goal of the season from close range.

Last season Rovers won the game at the Mem, 2-1. Rovers trailed to a fourth-minute strike when Ashley Hunter's angled right-foot shot found the top left corner.

Rovers dominated possession but it wasn’t until the 61st minute that Matty Taylor headed home Daniel Leadbitter's cross to level. Leadbitter was again the supply line when Cristian Montano shot home right footed to win the game on 73 minutes.

Fleetwood's livewire strikers Hunter and Chris Long caused Rovers plenty of problems in the first half, both having efforts saved. At the other end, Taylor forced three saves from Chris Neal and had another effort deflected over.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game Rosler is expecting a tough game. “This will be out biggest test away from home this season,” said the German. Northampton was very tough, but I think Bristol Rovers will be thinking about last year where they were very good against us.”

“It will be a real test for us to see how stable and confident we are, along with how consistent we are. My players can’t wait to show how we’ve improved on Saturday.”

“Obviously we are delighted with our position, I think it is far too early to conclude anything out of that and I think we need the first twelve to fifteen games and then you can see the tendency of the league table.”

“All coaches are waiting for the transfer window to be closed, so after that, we know more on what is at our disposal, but at the moment I am happy with what I have available in my squad.”

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