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ALEXANDER ON A DESERVED POINT

25 February 2017

United boss Graham Alexander says the point at Bristol Rovers was fully deserved.

The Iron came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at the Memorial Stadium, and Alexander praised the squad’s fighting spirit, as well as their quality.

Speaking to The Iron PlayerHD, Alexander said: “It’s a good point and a deserved point.

“We went in 1-0 down but, in the second half, we showed the right mentality to the game and committed bodies forward.

“The goal was fortuitous with how it came about, but there were other occasions where we played some really good stuff, and could have scored the winning goal.

“It was a difficult first half for us but, only being 1-0 down and with the threat we have, we know we’ve always got a chance of getting something out of the game.

“In the second half we were much better, we managed to get momentum, sustain pressure, and the goal came through that.”

After falling behind to an Ollie Clarke header in the opening period, the visitors got themselves back into the match via an own goal from Gas defender Tom Lockyer.

Alexander stated though that the leveller came about due to Paddy Madden’s persistent running, with the Irishman applying pressure to the Rovers man in the lead up to the goal.

“We know we’ve got a threat upfront, and we know Paddy is very good at running in behind teams,” he stated.

“He carries that threat and, whether he’d have scored it or not, we were just delighted to get the goal."

Alexander made an alteration at the break, with David Mirfin leaving the field to be replaced by Charlie Goode in defence.

The Scunthorpe manager revealed Mirfin had said he was unable able to carry on, but Alexander felt Goode more than filled the void that was left.

“David Mirfin is ill,” Alexander revealed.

“He said that he couldn’t continue, so we made the change.

“He reported that he’d lost all of his energy in the first half, and felt faint. Charlie (Goode) then came on, and was superb.

“It’s one of those where there’s a balance between putting yourself on the line to give everything.

“You have to be honest, and that’s what we’ve got within the whole group - a great honesty between the players, and it was a right decision to make at the time.”

Captain Stephen Dawson was named amongst the substitutes for the encounter with the Pirates, and Alexander explained why the Irishman was left out of the starting 11.

Alexander said: “Stephen (Dawson) had a family bereavement unfortunately this week, and it was someone very close to him.

“He’s had a difficult week, he’s been back in Ireland for the funeral, so he didn’t join up with us until yesterday.

“We wanted him to be around the group and part of it, but he wasn’t fit enough or ready to play the game.

“It’s been a sad week for Stephen, and that was the reason behind him not starting today.”

The match also saw full-back Conor Townsend complete 90 minutes in a competitive fixture for the first time since last December - something the Scunthorpe boss was delighted to see.

“He (Conor Townsend) grew into the game, and gave us good attacking width after doing his own job first,” he stated.

“It’s important defenders always do their own job first, and I thought he did that today.

“That was his first game since Rochdale, so every credit to him that he’s come back after two months of not playing a first team game.”

Attention now shifts to Tuesday night, with AFC Wimbledon the visitors at Glanford Park, and Alexander knows the challenge which lies in wait.

“The only focus we’ve got at the moment is on AFC Wimbledon,” he insisted.

“We know what they’re capable of. It was an extremely tough game when we played them earlier on in the season.”

See much more from Graham Alexander and Conor Townsend on The Iron PlayerHD.

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