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Stephen Crainey ‘bitterly disappointed’ as Fleetwood suffer last-gasp defeat

Fleetwood manager Stephen Crainey (left) saw his side suffer a last-gasp defeat (Nigel French/PA)
Fleetwood manager Stephen Crainey (left) saw his side suffer a last-gasp defeat (Nigel French/PA)

Fleetwood boss Stephen Crainey admitted his struggling side’s last-gasp defeat to Accrington was tough to take.

Crainey saw goalkeeper Alex Cairns sent off in the 85th minute for handling the ball outside his box before Michael Nottingham’s stoppage-time winner, which left the hosts outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

Ellis Harrison had headed Fleetwood in front from Dan Batty’s corner at the end of the first half, but Stanley levelled after 62 minutes through Sean McConville, who side-footed home after Tommy Leigh’s long throw was not cleared.

Crainey said: “That was a hard one to take and that seems to be the story of recent times for us, which is a bit frustrating.

“You couldn’t make it up these last few weeks to be honest.

“I thought a draw would probably have been a fairer result.

“Accrington are a physical side and they put you under lots of pressure at set-plays and long throw-ins.

“For the first goal we just switched off at the back stick and they score.

“Alex’s red card was disappointing of course and after that I’m just hoping we can dig in and just get a draw from the game.

“But they score from the corner and we’re bitterly disappointed not to get anything out of the game.

“I thought we battled away really well, but I felt for the group after we conceded in stoppage time like that.

“We had chances to have killed the game off well before that, though, and that was the case against Lincoln here in midweek.

“I’ll keep encouraging the group right until the last whistle in the final game.”

Stanley boss John Coleman saw his team win for the first time in six games but admitted he felt for relegation-threatened Fleetwood.

“I thought we were the better team in the first half and definitely didn’t deserve to be behind at the break,” he said.

“We were comfortable, but in the second half Fleetwood took the game to us and I think they can be desperately disappointed that they haven’t got something out of the game.

“On chances created, I think a draw would probably have been a fair result, but, when it’s not your day, it’s not your day, and it certainly wasn’t for Fleetwood.

“I know it’s frustrating because we’ve been on the end of that so many times ourselves this season, so I feel for them.

“If they keep playing like that I’m sure they’ll have no problem staying up.

“I know we can play better than that, but you can see what a win means to our players and our fans.

“Football is about winning games and we desperately needed that one.

“Particularly away from home it’s been a real bind, but thankfully today we showed enough character to grind out a result.”

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