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2 October 2022



2 October 2022

Speaking after our dramatic last-gasp win over Fleetwood Town on Saturday, Michael Duff praised the Reds' spirit to stay focused and take all three points.

In what was a somewhat stale affair, substitute Jack Aitchison headed home in the 91st minute to secure the Reds' third consecutive victory on the road.

"I thought it was a good performance," opened the gaffer. "If it would have ended 0-0, I'd have been saying the same thing.

"We were excellent in the first twenty minutes of the game. It's another game. It's another game unbeaten, clean sheet. Obviously, a last-minute win is always good.

"There was a flat spot in the second-half where it looked like the game was petering out. I'm sure a lot of the supporters would have thought 'that's it done'. 

“Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as the lads did, and the staff.”

The lull that occurred within the second half saw neither side threaten the goal and aptly matched the monotone grey skies above the Fylde coast.

In the opinion of our boss, it provided a learning curve for his side on how to respond to such situations.

"Part of the learning is, when we played Port Vale they tried to slow the game down at every opportunity. They did the same [Fleetwood]. They tried to slow the game down, they tried to break it up. They went a little bit more direct then they have done recently, so that's a compliment to us. 

"So it's trying to figure that out during the game. It's all part of the lads' learning. The desire and the drive to keep going into the 91st minute was brilliant."

This desire and drive is something we have seen develop as the season has progressed, with the Reds overcoming different challenges already early on in this campaign.

Duff hailed the growing team spirit within the squad to allow his side to be resolute and determined in their approach.

"When you win, you always have a good feeling," he said. "But I think it's been growing, and growing in terms of togetherness, a spirit within the squad.

"Some of the support staff have said they've not heard them at each other like that at half-time, which I think is a positive. Again, as long as it's delivered in the right way and coming from the right place.  

"Without labouring the point, you've just got to keep doing it day to day. It doesn't happen, football doesn't owe you anything. Just because we've been good for the last couple of weeks. We were good for the first twenty minutes, you've got to come in at half-time and do it all over again."

The gaffer finished by praising the once again sold out away end on Saturday in Fleetwood. 

"I thought they were brilliant," Duff lauded. "Hopefully, they see the players giving everything. I have a quick celebration with them, but I want the players to go and enjoy that.

"That's why I get off the pitch as quickly as I can. It's not about me. It's about the players appreciating them and vice versa. Everywhere we've been; you take 1000 to Plymouth and we stink the joint out, but, there's still loads at the next game. Obviously, results have helped.

"They probably don't know how much it means. That feeling of going and celebrating with the fans. It's a brilliant feeling that you can't buy. The more you can do it, the better it feels."

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