Burton 2-4 Fleetwood
Fleetwood Town maintained their 100% start to 2014 with a deserved 4-2 victory at Burton Albion.
Striker David Ball put Fleetwood on the road to victory with a stunning strike in the opening 20 minutes.
Nathan Pond hit Fleetwood’s second, his 50th career goal for the club in the 51st minute, just two minutes after Burton equalised via an own goal.
The hosts hit back once more on the hour mark through another unfortunate Fleetwood own goal but the Cod Army showed fantastic character to go on and win the game with Jon Parkin and substitute Junior Brown hitting the net late on to seal the points for Graham Alexander’s men.
In an afternoon which will long in the memory for many different reasons, the game was in doubt just 40 minutes before kick-off after torrential downpour in Burton, with referee Darren Drysdale calling a pitch inspection for 3.15pm.
The weather conditions improved and with the ground staff working tirelessly to get the game on, Drysdale allowed the match to go ahead with a 4pm kick-off.
Followed by a loud contingency from Lancashire, Town had to withstand an early wave of Brewers pressure on a difficult surface in Staffordshire.
In the 18th minute, Fleetwood’s patience out of possession paid dividends as they took the lead with a quick counter attacking move.
A long ball upfield was expertly flicked on by number nine Parkin into the path of Ball. Utilising his pace and tricky, the striker cut inside from the right to beat full back Damien McCrory and fire an unstoppable strike into the top corner for his tenth goal of the season.
Frustration started to creep in around the Pirelli Stadium as Fleetwood started to implement their style of play on the game with Ball again coming close ten minutes later but this time denied by the Brewers custodian.
Fleetwood were not resting on their laurels and despite a cross from Burton midfielder Jimmy Phillips nearly deflecting in, the visitors were looking the team with promise in front of goal as Murdoch narrowly missed the target from 20-yards.
Burton had the final effort of the half, full back Phil Edwards finding room at the back post but he was crowded out by a number of red shirts and unable to test Davies.
The pace of the game picked up in the second half with five goals to follow. With the final 45 just five minutes, Burton hit back in cruel fashion for the Town backline.
What looked to be a harmless cross from Palmer, with no yellow shirt near Davies, the goalkeeper punched the ball into the face of skipper Mark Roberts which rebounded back into the goal.
Fleetwood didn’t let their heads drop despite the falter and within two minutes were back in front as the club’s longest serving player headed home his 50th goal for the Cod Army, beating his marker in the air to connect with a Steven Schumacher corner.
A flurry of Burton attacks followed but the pressure finally paid off as the Brewers tied matters once again as Alex Marrow turned the ball past his own goalkeeper following a cross from the left channel.
It was turning into a real advertisement for League Two with both teams at full throttle with victory in sight.
From both wings Burton were starting to cause Town problems as they looked for a second win over the Lancashire club at the Pirelli this season.
However Fleetwood’s spirit was there for all to be seen, and like all game they looked dangerous everytime they moved possession forward.
And with 13 minutes remaining, Town regained the lead for the third time to the delight of the travelling Cod Army.
Substitute Antoni Sarcevic, returning to the side after missing last week’s win against Hartlepool played a delicate through ball to McLaughlin on the right hand side.
The Northern Irish man slid an excellent ball into the middle for ‘The Beast’ Parkin to hammer home for his second goal in as many games.
Burton pilled on the pressure searching out for another equaliser and despite coming close from a Billy Kee free-kick, Fleetwood rounded the game off in style with a fourth deep into stoppage time.
Alexander’s two other substitutes Mandron and Brown combined with the latter left with a simple tap in at the back post to set the Cod Army up perfectly for Monday night’s clash against Scunthorpe United.