Fleetwood 3-1 Bristol Rovers
The Cod Army returned to winning ways in comfortable fashion at Highbury this evening, as goals from Antoni Sarcevic, Mark Roberts and David Ball sealed all three points.
Sarcevic netted his third goal in four games midway through the first half, before captain Roberts added a second from a corner.
Ball, making his first start since the 4th February, made it three five minutes after half time, heading in Charlie Taylor’s cross.
The Gas did pull a goal back on 78 minutes through Ellis Harison, as he rose highest to meet Lee Brown’s corner and head past Chris Maxwell.
Defeat at Exeter City’s St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon meant that manager Graham Alexander made four changes to his side.
Iain Hume, a recent loan signing from Preston North End, started his first full game in home colours, partnered David Ball up front at the expense of Jamille Matt and Jon Parkin.
Alan Goodall made a return to the Town side instead of Stewart Murdoch, while Matty Blair, who impressed after coming off the bench in Devon, earned a start for his exploits, as Steven Schumacher missed out with a foot injury.
Some nice approach play by Iain Hume fed Antoni Sarcevic down the left, and his cross caused the visiting defence an early problem.
Despite a quiet start in terms of chances, the Cod Army did manage to get themselves in front after twenty minutes.
Intricate play in the midfield by Josh Morris and Alan Goodall allowed Sarcevic to find a way through, and beat Rovers keeper Steve Mildenhall.
Town very nearly made it two after Sarcevic’s opener, with Morris playing a neat ball across the face of goal for Hume, who failed to connect with the on-loan Blackburn Rovers man’s cross.
Morris was again involved in the action, this time feeding top goalscorer, David Ball, who saw his effort blocked by a Gas defender.
Captain Mark Roberts put Graham Alexander’s side further ahead just shy of half time, as he headed a Josh Morris corner past Mildenhall.
In added time of the first period, Rovers striker Matt Harold beat his marker in the area, and played the ball back to Mark McChrystal, who saw his strike cannon back off the post.
It took Fleetwood only six minutes after the restart to treble their lead, as David Ball headed home a Charlie Taylor cross for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Rovers were restricted to chances from distance, with Michael Smith stinging the hands of keeper Chris Maxwell, and Ollie Clarke firing over from twenty yards.
A lofted Matty Blair cross from the right was met by defender Nathan Pond on the hour mark, but his header was saved by Steve Mildenhall, while Mark Roberts was also denied from the follow-up.
Matt Harold went close to reducing the deficit for the visitors when he wriggled away from a couple of challenges, but screwed wide of the far post.
John Ward’s men refused to give in, though, and substitute Ellis Harison pulled a goal back twelve minutes from time, as an unmarked Harison headed home a Lee Brown corner.
Former Welsh Premier League striker Kaid Mohammed forced a great save from Chris Maxwell late on, but Town held out for a much needed victory