Town pressure Gas
MATCH REPORT vs Bristol Rovers.
A double from Jamille Matt and a stunning volley from Jon Parkin ensured that the Cod Army move to within a point of Chesterfield after a 3-1 win at the Memorial Stadium.
Alexander made four changes to the side from the Exeter City defeat last weekend. Liam Hogan, Matty Blair, Stewart Murdoch and Jamille Matt were all given starts in a formation that appeared to line up as 4-1-4-1.
The first half was a stalemate by all accounts, with hardly a single clear chance being created by either side, in what was a very sloppy start to the game.
Ryan Brunt had a header tipped away by Davies in the early stages to give the home side their first corner of the match. Rovers edged the first half slightly, with Lee Brown delivering a number of set pieces from corners and free kicks conceded by Town, but none truly testing. The closest was a well-prepared free kick which was headed towards the back post midway through the first half, but Ryan Cresswell was there to clear the danger.
Fleetwood struggled to create much more than a header which was guided wide by Matt from a Matty Blair corner. League Two Player of the Month Antoni Sarcevic managed to power past Rovers’ right back Michael Smith five minutes before the break and deliver an impressive cross in front of goal, but a stretching Blair could not meet the ball and the home side escaped conceding what would have been an undeserved lead for the Cods.
The story of the first half was shown just before the interval, when an Andy Bond shot curled well wide of Davies’ goal.
Both sides had notable chances to take the lead in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The first real chance coming when Bond found himself in a great position to slot past Davies, but he fired over the goal, much to the relief of the Town defence. Not long after, Jess Hughes slotted the ball square to Murdoch who blazed over the bar from an excellent position, opening the game up more.
Fleetwood then showed a sign of things to come, when Sarcevic wriggled his way through two Rovers defenders to open himself up on the edge of the box where he released one of his powerful efforts, but Steve Mildenhall was there to tip the ball over for a corner. This was the turning point in the match as an action- packed 30 minutes followed.
The game was carved wide open just after the half an hour mark as Town took the lead through Matt. Sarcevic opened himself up by beating the defender on the right hand side, slotting the ball across to the big striker who tapped the ball into the home side’s net. But that lead did not last long as only a matter of minutes later, John-Joe O’Toole equalised for the Gas netting from around 5 yards out after a pin-perfect ball over from Bond, making the scores 1-1.
Town were then forced to clear an effort off the line, as the ball hit both Cresswell and Davies before being hoofed to safety.
Junior Brown replaced Blair with 20 minutes left on the clock, and Gareth Evans came on for Schumacer to make his 250th football league appearance.
The match had then returned to its first half display until Matt scored his second of the game and put the visitors back in front, after a neat one-two with Sarcevic on the edge of the box allowed the former Kidderminster forward the space to place the ball into the bottom corner past Mildenhall, who could do little to prevent Town going ahead.
Substitute Jon Parkin then struck a fine volley into the far corner extending Fleetwood’s lead to 3-1 and ultimately putting the game beyond reach of Bristol Rovers, as the Cod Army behind that goal celebrated.
The impressive victory puts Fleetwood hot on the heels of leaders Chesterfield, who visit Highbury Stadium next Saturday.