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Match Reports

Play-Off final preview

26 May 2014


Well, well, well, Fleetwood Town's meteoric rise up the football pyramid continued in dramatic style as they sealed their place in League One next season following a 1-0 win over Burton Albion at Wembley.  

Antoni Sarcevic’s fifteenth goal of the campaign won what was a tightly contested affair against the Staffordshire outfit.

Victory capped a memorable ten years for the club, with promotion to England’s third tier being Town’s sixth in a decade.

The club celebrated in style at full time as they prepare for life in the third tier in the first time in their history, sealing what will be a memorable birthday for Chairman Andy Pilley. 

The Cod Army defeated York City by the narrowest of margins over two-legs to get to the final, with a close-range Matty Blair goal enough to book an appearance at the home of English football.

On the other hand, Gary Rowett’s Burton Albion saw off the challenge of Southend United to secure their passage, with Adam McGurk netting the all-important winner at Roots Hall last weekend.

Having started with midfielder Steven Schumacher for both play-off games against the Minstermen, manager Graham Alexander opted to leave out the former Bury man this time, and drafted the experienced Alan Goodall in to take his place in what was Fleetwood’s only change.

Town started positively, and David Ball had the game’s first chance after only a minute, as he spun his marker on the edge of the box and forced Dean Lyness into a finger-tip save.

Burton’s shot-stopper was called into action again from the resulting corner, palming Ball’s header away from goal.

Ball was proving to be a nuisance to Burton’s backline with his pace, and it took a fine tackle from Shane Cansdell-Sheriff to deny the 24 year old from opening his account.

Burton captain Lee Bell tried his luck from long range just after the quarter hour mark with a dipping effort which went wide of Chris Maxwell’s goal.

Adam McGurk created space for himself on the edge of the area, but dragged an effort wide, before Bell tested Maxwell with another strike from distance.

David Ball was guilty of missing a decent opportunity for Town when Conor McLaughlin found space down the right and cut back for Ball, who sliced over.

A fierce Antoni Sarcevic free kick was well blocked by the Brewers defence, while Josh Morris was unable to get a shot away after some good work from Charlie Taylor.

Fleetwood began the stronger of the two sides after the break, with David Ball getting in behind the Burton backline, but failing in his attempt to lob keeper Dean Lyness.

Some good hold up play from Billy Kee presented Lee Bell with a strike at goal, which Chris Maxwell dealt with comfortably.

Kee, Burton’s top goalscorer, found space between Town centre-halves Mark Roberts and Nathan Pond, but scooped his shot over.

In reply, Antoni Sarcevic skipped a couple of challenges and unleashed a long range strike at Lyness which flew off target.

The Brewers were exerting pressure on the Cod Army defence; Alex MacDonald saw his deflected shot tipped over by Maxwell, while Cansdell-Sheriff headed across the face of goal.

In what the Cod Army’s first substitution of the afternoon, midfielder Matty Blair made way for Jon Parkin on 70 minutes as manager Graham Alexander looked to bolster his attacking arsenal.

With just shy of a quarter of an hour remaining, Fleetwood took the lead through Antoni Sarcevic. Josh Morris was initially brought down by Phil Edwards on the left, and from the resulting free-kick, Sarcevic’s curler evaded everyone and looped over Dean Lyness for his fifteenth goal of the season.

The industrious Stewart Murdoch was brought on to replace Iain Hume to help protect the back four, as Burton rallied for an equalizer.

There was to be no equalizer though, despite a late effort from Callum McFadzean, and Fleetwood Town held on for promotion to League One.

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