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League Two

John Ward worries for Bristol Rovers

26 March 2014

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward was concerned by his side's lack of confidence as they went down 3-1 at promotion-hopefuls Fleetwood Town.

Mistakes at the back cost the Pirates dear and they were 3-0 down within 51 minutes - Antoni Sarcevic, Mark Roberts and David Ball all on target for the hosts - before substitute Ellis Harrison pulled one back as Fleetwood took their foot off the gas.

Ward said: "I'm disappointed because we've looked a little bit hesitant, a little bit uncertain and we've lacked confidence.

"We started pretty well in terms of that.

"I thought there were two teams fighting for form and the first strike was going to be important.

"What has been our strength this season - our defending has let us down. I won't say the goals are self inflicted but we could have dealt with them better. We've offered a team who were wobbling a bit a lifeline.

"The boys have tried hard, I stand by my team. If they weren't fighting we'd have been beaten eight or nine, b ut it's just that lack of confidence."

Cod Army boss Graham Alexander was pleased to see his side bounce back from Saturday's surprise defeat at Exeter.

He said: "I'm really pleased with the team and the players.

"We started well and got the goal we deserved. We got the ball down and were interchanging positions and so forth and looked solid at the back.

"Two-nil up at half-time and we were happy but we knew they could change something and come at us.

"The third was great and then they came at us late on, put on a lot of pressure. We conceded from a set piece but after that we got a lot of blocks in and got the job done."

A first half lacking in quality from either side was brought to life thanks to a mistake from Rovers captain Tom Parkes. He could not get his foot on Iain Hume's pass and the ball squirmed into the path of Sarcevic, the Fleetwood midfielder only too happy to drive it past goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.

That advantage was doubled before the break, Roberts flicking the ball in with his head to turn a Josh Morris corner home.

And within six minutes of the restart the home side were out of reach. Hume put in an inch-perfect cross-field pass to pick out Charlie Taylor and with Rovers all over the place at the back, Ball took advantage.

Nathan Pond and Roberts both came close to adding a fourth, Parkes clearing off the line to spare the Pirates' blushes.

There was less clinical finishing at the other end where Matt Harrold did all the hard work to get behind the hosts only to blaze wide.

They did pull one back late on, though, when substitute Harrison headed in a Lee Brown corner.

Home goalkeeper Chris Maxwell then pulled off a superb reflex save in added time to prevent a grandstand finale.

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