Torquay 0-1 Fleetwood
Jamille Matt’s 73rd minute goal secured a vital three points for the Cod Army on the south coast this afternoon, which kept them in touch with their promotion rivals.
Matt pounced on to Jon Parkin’s through ball, and slotted beyond United keeper Martin Rice to score his first goal since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.
The result also confirmed Fleetwood's third consecutive clean sheet in League Two, as they prepare to face North West neighbours Bury at Gigg Lane on Tuesday evening.
After Tuesday night’s goalless draw at Newport County, Graham Alexander opted to stick with the same eleven that came away with a point from Rodney Parade.
However, Alex Marrow, out due to illness, was replaced on the substitutes bench by Matty Blair, who had recently returned from a loan spell at Northampton Town.
On what was a tricky surface, Alexander’s men adapted well; Stewart Murdoch found Charlie Taylor on the left, and his cross-cum-shot went wide of Martin Rice’s goal.
Despite a decent start from Town, the Gulls gradually got the better of things, with recent signing Enoch Showunmi’s presence proving a nuisance.
Torquay centre half Alan Downes tried his luck from all of thirty yards after twenty minutes, and saw his sweetly struck strike go just over.
Chances were few and far between for both sides – former Preston North End striker Karl Hawley sent an effort off target, while Chris Maxwell had to get down low to deny Josh Labadie’s set-piece.
Maxwell was called into action immediately at the start of the start of the second half, as he had to scramble to save Kevin Nicholson’s goalbound free kick.
Matt was presented with the Cod Army’s best chance of the game on 50 minutes, as he was released in on goal down the right and drew a fine stop out of Martin Rice.
Mark Roberts rescued his side with a couple of fine last ditch blocks to deny Lee Mansell, while at the other end Antoni Sarcevic hit the base of the post from a tight angle.
Graham Alexander introduced Jon Parkin to the fray just before the hour mark to boost his attacking options, while Josh Morris and Matty Hughes also came on to replace Alan Goodall and Stewart Murdoch respectively.
Parkin made a huge difference, and provided the assist for Matt who put Town ahead on 73 minutes. A measured through ball from the 32-year-old found Matt, who finished confidently to score Fleetwood’s first goal in over seven hours of football.
Town had to endure a nervous final few minutes as the home side pressured, but the backline, marshalled by captain Roberts, stood strong and defended immensely to secure a vital three points.