A look back at October 2013 for Fleetwood Town
With Exeter City narrowly denying Fleetwood Town a 100% record in September, Graham Alexander and his side set about maintaining the impressive start they had made in only their second season in the Football League.
It was not just in the league they was impressing in though. A week after that shock 2-1 defeat to Exeter, the Cod Army made the long journey down south to Bristol looking for an instant return to winning ways.
The Cod Army did not disappoint. With the first half ending in a 0-0 stalemate, Jamille Matt was, once again, on the score sheet before John Joe O’Toole, Bristol’s stand out performer over the course of the season, instantly replied with a header.
A first draw of the season was beckoning, but two late goals – another from Matt and a first of the season for Jon Parkin – secured a comfortable result ahead of a break from the trials and tribulations of league football.
Fleetwood, though, were replicating their league form in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. The route, which started with Tranmere Rovers, moved on to the visit of Crewe Alexandra, another League 1 team, but the Cod Army delivered their most clinical display of the season so far.
Dispossessing the Railway men of their JPT title, Fleetwood scored two goals in each half – David Ball and Jon Parkin in the first and Nathan Pond and Matty Blair in the second – to record a 4-0 victory to dispose of higher ranked opponents for the second time in the space of two months.
The result represented great preparation for a significant ten days that lay before Town with fixtures against three sides who would all compete in the end of season promotion shake up.
First up was the leaders Chesterfield. Under the watchful eye of the former Manchester United manager, David Moyes, first took on second and Fleetwood came from behind to claim their first draw of the season to remain within one point of top spot.
After a tight first half, Chesterfield defender Liam Cooper headed in a Ritchie Humphreys corner to give the Spireites what seemed to be the winner, before Parkin scored his third goal in three games to claim a point.
Next up was another long midweek trip down south as Fleetwood travelled to Roots Hall to face Southend United.
On an evening when Charlie Taylor would make his debut and the first of many appearances in the red and white of Fleetwood after signing on loan from Leeds United, a goal each side of half time from Barry Corr denied Town the chance to move to the summit of League 2, but Phil Brown’s side moved back into the play-off places.
The challenge was put in place. Could Fleetwood continue the sequence that had followed every defeat in the opening part of the season and return to winning ways at the first attempt?
Under the Highbury floodlights, that was not to be the case as Fleetwood slipped to back-to-back defeats for the first time of the new season after narrowly losing 1-0 to Scunthorpe United.
The woodwork denied Jeff Hughes early on, but Sam Winnall scored the only goal on an evening the Cod Army failed to take the chances that fell their way.
With the end of October coming to an end and the autumn beginning to settle in, two consecutive defeats represented a test of character to Fleetwood, but they was to end the month on a positive note by returning to winning ways.
When the Cod Army travelled to York City, no body would have predicted that these two sides would meet in the Play-Off Semi-Finals at the end of the regular season – particularly after Fleetwood recorded a comprehensive 2-0 victory at Bootham Crescent.
Gareth Evans and Jamille Matt scored the all important goals as Fleetwood moved back into the top three, and although October had come to an end, the 2-0 victory over the Ministermen was just the start of another winning run.