A look back at March 2014 for the Cod Army
Short term, Fleetwood Town just had to get back on track. Long term this was a month of rediscovery.
The 4-0 defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle the week before had compounded what had been the Cod Army’s worst month of the campaign and the message radiating out of the dressing room was that Town just needed a result. No matter how it came.
A 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon meant Fleetwood started the month with a solid point.
The start of three consecutive away games started with a second consecutive 0-0 draw, this time away at Newport County.
After managing to rediscover their defensive solidarity, it was time for Fleetwood to dig out their goal scoring boots.
Jamille Matt’s strike in the 1-0 victory over Torquay United, which put to an the 434 minutes Fleetwood had gone without finding the back of the net, restored confidence. The progress had been slow but the performances on the pitch were starting to bear fruit.
Town’s biggest examination of their recently rediscovered resolve was going to be tested by one of the division’s in form sides, Bury, who possessed a formidable home record ahead of Fleetwood’s visit to the JD Stadium.
Antoni Sarcevic got his name back on the score sheet to give Fleetwood the lead, before Matt again put Town in front in the second after Daniel Nardiello had equalised.
Nardiello, again, struck another equaliser and the Cod Army weathered out another storm to take another point to crucially extend their unbeaten run to four games.
Back in the groove, Fleetwood returned to Highbury for the first time in two weeks in preparation for the visit of a struggling Portsmouth side fighting to ensure their recent perils did not take them out of the Football League.
In a comfortable first half display, Fleetwood looked a side getting back to their best as Jon Parkin and Sarcevic fired the Cod Army into a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Matt, scoring for the third game in succession, added gloss to the score line before Jed Wallace scored the goal of the game for the visitors from range, but with nine games to go, Alexander’s side had hauled themselves back into the battle for automatic promotion.
Reflecting back, the heavy, and somewhat unexpected, 3-0 defeat to Exeter City the following week represented a big blow in their game of cat and mouse, but unlike the Plymouth game, Exeter yielded one positive at the least.
In the build up to the game at St James’ Park, Fleetwood announced the loan signing of Iain Hume from Preston North End and his half time introduction alongside David Ball proved effective.
The duo would form a front pairing for the remainder of the season. Starting back at Highbury, where Fleetwood recorded a 3-1 victory, and another domestic league double, over Bristol Rovers.
Sarcevic returned to the score sheet with a drive after 21 minutes before Mark Roberts converted Josh Morris’s corner five minutes before the interval.
Ball nodded in a third after the break before Ellis Harrison pulled one back with his own header, but another victory set Alexander’s side up perfectly for the visit of the league leaders, Rochdale.
Despite all their huffing and puffing, Fleetwood could not quite force Dale into submission and had to settle for a point in a productive and progressive month that had dragged Town right back into the promotion frame.
It would be a race that Fleetwood would take right down to the wire heading into the penultimate month of the campaign.