John Parkin's third goal in three games handed Fleetwood a vital three points as they overcame Torquay United at Plainmoor.
By Mike McGough
Jon Parkin's third goal in three games handed Fleetwood a vital three points as they overcame Torquay United at Plainmoor.
Town withheld a mountain of pressure as the final whistle approached and escaped a late effort from Aaron Downes whose header came off the crossbar deep into stoppage time.
Fleetwood took the lead through Jon Parkin on 25 minutes after a pin-perfect cross from Dean Howell found the head of the on-from striker. The big frontman guided the ball into the far corner past a scrambling Michael Poke.
Manager Graham Alexander made four changes for the long trip to Devon with Jon Parkin, Conor McLaughlin, and Ryan Crowther earning a place in the starting lineup, whilst Dean Howell returned at left-back. Shaun Beeley and Nathan Pond suffered knee injuries against Bradford and Gareth Evans also picked up a knock which ruled them out.
It was the home side who had the first chance of the game on just four minutes; Scott Davies called into action as Ryan Jarvis' volley was tipped away and an immediate follow-up shot was blocked by Atkinson, triggering calls for a handball by Torquay, but to no avail.
Fleetwood settled soon after though as McGuire opened up the home defence with some neat footwork, but his square ball to a stretched Paul McKenna was blocked. Junior Brown delivered some troubling balls from his right sided position but the Torquay defence cleared on each occasion.
It was then that Dean Howell floated in a lovely curling cross for Parkin's third goal in three games and give Town the lead in what was a fairly evenly matched affair at that point, but the goal only spurred United on.
The Gulls piled on the pressure after the goal as they turned on the heat and tested Davies on a number of occasions, but Town's number one proved why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league after being repeatedly called into action. Yellows' ever present Billy Bodin was denied twice, one a spectacular curling effort into the corner which was tipped away superbly.
The home side came out in the second half as they went in, very much on top, but with nothing to show for it. Bodin was dangerously brought down in the area but the referee again waved away any shouts for a penalty as Torquay enjoyed a spell of possession.
Fleetwood did get the ball in the net once again soon after the break as a short corner between Brown and Crowther found Fontaine's head, but referee Phillip Gibbs judged the substitute to have pushed defender Brian Saah as he leaped.
United continued to press but often couldn't provide in the final third. Left back Kevin Nicholson tested Davies with a powerful effort from 25 yards but it was straight down the throat of the keeper.
Fleetwood began to play their pass-and-move football which made it difficult for Torquay to get the ball in the second half, whilst the Brown and Crowther short corner combination continued with most causing the Gulls' defence problems.
Town had a spell of pressure later in the second half as David Ball had a shot blocked on the edge of the area, before Brown saw a half volley tipped away by Pokes.
United came agonsingly close to an euqlaiser deep into stoppage time as an Aaron Downes header bounced off the crossbar.
But Fleetwood rode out the pressure from their opposition and managed to cling on to a vital three points to bring back to Lancashire.