|Fleetwood Town 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 5th October 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: It Could Have Been Three or Four
Saturday, 5th Oct 2019 18:34
Town boss Paul Lambert felt his team should have beaten Fleetwood more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline which is becoming increasingly familiar on the road this season.
Today’s victory over the Cod Army was the Blues’ third successive away win by that result and their fourth overall on their travels this season.
“I thought we were excellent, the whole game I thought we were excellent,” Lambert said.
“We had some good moments in the first half, second half I thought we were really, really good, it could have been three or four.
“Apart from the penalty which was given, I thought we had two stonewallers and never got them. There were some strange decisions.
“The sending off, I couldn’t really see but there’s no malice to James Wilson at all. But the performance was absolutely great.”
He added: “We should have put the game to bed. I think we should have been three or four up. The two penalties I thought were bizarre, the drop ball down here, which was incredible, then the six minutes injury time.
“All credit to the team they were brilliant defensively, they never really had many chances. Long balls into the box and a cup atmosphere, but we defended great.”
Jon Nolan and Kayden Jackson both had what looked certain penalties turned down by referee Carl Boyeson.
“If the ball’s safe side, which it was coming to Nolan’s safe side, there’s no way the defender can go to ground in the penalty box, no chance,” Lambert added. “I thought Nolan was outstanding.
“Kayden’s one I thought was an absolute stick-on. If you know anything about the game at all, if the ball’s safe side, you don’t go to ground and I think the lad was fortunate to get away with it and they were fortunate to get away with the second one. But some of the play we had was excellent.”
Lambert said he couldn’t remember seeing two such obvious penalties being denied in the same game.
“Not like that, that was incredible,” he reflected. “What he sees I don’t know, I’d need to see them again. From where I was standing they were two of the most blatant ones I’ve encountered.
“I think at big moments you’ve got to get the big calls right and they were big calls and I don’t think the referee got them right. But it’s a hard game being a referee, but the big calls I didn’t think were correct.”
While those decisions ultimately didn’t matter, the situation might have been very different and the Blues could have been denied the three points as a result.
“Of course, but, as I said before, the lads deserve a helluva lot of credit, the supporters as well, seven and a half hours coming up here,” Lambert said. “All credit to the club and everybody, it’s been a brilliant start to the season.”
Regarding the penalty which was awarded which Jackson missed, he added: “I thought it was an absolute stick-on, I never expected him to miss, but I thought his general play was excellent.”
Lambert singled out Nolan for further praise: “He was brilliant, absolutely top drawer he was. But they all were, all the guys. The back lads starting with Tomas, the defending was great. I thought we were really, really good.”
Town have now recorded six clean sheets in their last seven league games and four on the road and they were forced to show their defensive resolve in six minutes of injury time.
“Where that came from as well was incredible,” the Blues boss added. “But, as I said, the team, the supporters coming this way, seven hours or whatever it was, it’s a helluva long way, but the start we’ve made has been absolutely phenomenal.”
Lambert was pleased with the manner in which striker James Norwood battled with the Fleetwood defence.
“He draws that because of the way he plays the game, he takes a big, big burden off Kayden with his physicality,” he reflected. “He had a great chance to score but he’s an absolute handful that’s for sure.”
Asked whether he is surprised how well his team has started the season, he said: “I don’t know, I really don’t know. As I said before, the big thing for me was getting the fans back in and getting the team to bounce off them.
“You see the whole togetherness there, it’s a brilliant thing to see and something that’s probably not been here for many years. My biggest achievement at the minute is reconnecting the football club.”
Lambert dismissed suggestions that Fleetwood boss Joey Barton’s pre-match comments about his team formed part of his team-talk.
“Let alone listen to you [the media], I’ve been in the game a helluva long time, I’ve been at huge clubs, played for huge clubs, managed huge clubs, I don’t get up caught in that,” he said.
“Joey I find fine, there’s nothing there at all. I don’t know, whether he said that I don’t know.”
Several of Town’s fellow challengers at the top of the division have two games before the Blues are at Accrington a fortnight tomorrow, but Lambert said that didn’t come into his thinking going into the match.
“No, just win the game and if we win the game it doesn’t matter what anybody else does,” he insisted.
“I’ve never been one to look over my shoulder and think, ‘How are they getting on, how are they getting on?’.
“We can only do what we can do and we can only control what we can control. But the way we’re playing at the moment, for us to lose it’s going to take us having a really off day and for somebody else to play really well.”
Prior to today’s game Fleetwood were unbeaten in five and hadn’t lost at home since February.
“They’ve been going well but we’ve a different pressure to Fleetwood,” the Town manager continued.
“You see the stadium today, everywhere we go it’s like a cup game and we’re rising to it, we’re rising to the challenge, meeting it head on and I’m really, really proud of the team.”
The result sees Town move four points ahead at the top of the division. Asked whether he could have imagined his team being in this position at this point in the campaign, Lambert said: “I don’t know because the club’s in transition because it’s having to rebuild and reconnect with people, there’s so much work to get done here it’s incredible, it’s not just what you see on the pitch, it’s everywhere.
“But it’s getting there, and I said before, once it goes it’ll take off and hopefully when we’re long away from the football club the club will always have a connection with the town.”
Fleetwood manager Joey Barton had his own complaint about referee Carl Boyeson.
“It was a good game, a good competitive fixture with two good sides having a right old ding-dong," he said.
"When that happens as we thought, during the week, your set plays have got to be on the money and the game is ultimately decided on a set play.
“It’s a strange one [Harry] Souttar is going to win the header and then just puts his arm out and obviously Norwood runs into it and the ref awards a freekick.
"You do see them awarded from time to time, sometimes you don’t and then the aftermath of that is, at the end of the day, it should have been a freekick to us because Norwood then decides to push our wall and the law change says you can’t be within a metre of the wall.
“I’m disappointed that the officials have missed that but then we’ve got to follow in and also be alive for [keeper] Alex [Cairns] making the save, even making sure that we pick up the seconds.
"We didn’t do that and you get punished when you play teams of a lesser standard and lesser individuals, you might get away with that. When you play the good sides in your division, you do get punished.
“After that we’ve had a good go, created a good chance with Ash Hunter’s header and almost connected at the back post from Ched [Evans], but then the flipside of that is you are pushing on to try and get yourselves back into the game and they have a couple of opportunities.
"The penalty being the one that should put the game to bed, but whilst it was 1-0, the lads kept fighting and the fans stayed with them.
“As I say, we can play better than that. Too many of our top players weren’t at their top level and when you play good teams you can’t do that. There’s not much between the two sides.”
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