Fleetwood 2-0 Northampton
A Gareth Evans brace ensured Fleetwood Town rreturned to winning ways as they saw off the challenge of Chris Wilder’s Northampton Town this afternoon.
The result was the Cod Army’s first win in five games in all competitions, having last tasted victory away at Burton Albion in mid-January.
Following the midweek draw at Wycombe Wanderers, Graham Alexander made two changes to his starting eleven for the visit of the Cobblers.
Returning to the ranks were Antoni Sarcevic, Gareth Evans and Jamille Matt, with the latter making his first start for the Cod Army since the 2-0 victory at York City at the end of October.
Making way for the attacking trio were Stewart Murdoch, Alan Goodall and Mikael Mandron, while goalkeeper Chris Maxwell kept his place in goal to make his home debut for the club.
The game was greeted by a minutes’ applause from both sets of players and supporters for the late Sir Tom Finney.
Steven Schumacher tested keeper Matt Duke out with a low strike after some seven minutes, but the former Hull City man saved well.
Minutes later, Schumacher’s in-swinging corner was met by the head of captain Mark Roberts, who saw his effort scrambled away off the line.
The Cod Army took the lead after 22 minutes, when Gareth Evans was put through one on one by Jon Parkin, and deftly beat Duke in the Cobblers goal.
The visitors’ first real first chance of the game came immediately after Town’s goal, as John Marquis sent a tame header at Chris Maxwell.
Jon Parkin then sent a crashing half volley just over on the half hour mark, as he looked to continue his fine recent form which has seen him net four times since the turn of the year.
Jamille Matt, recently back in the team after a lengthy injury lay-off, was guilty of missing a great opportunity for Town ten minutes before the break, as he headed Jon Parkin’s cross over from all of three yards.
A slow start to the second half meant that chances were few and far between.
On-loan Leeds United full back Charlie Taylor tried his luck from twenty yards, while Emile Sinclair, a new signing for the Cobblers dragged an effort wide.
Northampton’s Leon McSweeney then saw his shot blocked well by Nathan Pond, and from the resulting corner, Ben Tozer headed onto the roof of the net.
Matt Duke came to the rescue for Chris Wilder’s men midway through the second half, as he kept out Jamille Matt’s close range effort with his legs.
Town continued to look for the second goal, and the opportunity nearly presented itself when Jamille Matt found Jon Parkin inside the area, but the 32 year old fired over.
The all-important killer goal did come, however, in the 80th minute as Gareth Evans got his second of the afternoon. Jon Parkin’s pin-point cross was met by an unmarked Evans who nodded home to round off proceedings.
Victory will give Graham Alexander’s team momentum as they head into Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy section final second leg away at Chesterfield.