Town earn well deserved point at Swindon
A combination of David Ball’s ninth goal of the season and a superb penalty save from Alex Cairns ensured Fleetwood drew 1-1 with Swindon Town.
Town made it eight unbeaten in all competitions, but had to do it the hard way after going behind to Luke Norris’ opener. Ball replied before half-time and then Cairns saved brilliantly from Michael Doughty’s spot kick.
Town made three changes from the midweek Emirates FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town. David Ball, Ashley Hunter and George Glendon all returned. Nick Haughton was back on the bench after a successful loan spell at Salford City.
Fleetwood started the game the better. Chris Long found space 18 yards out but fired his shot comfortably over Lawrence Vigouroux’s crossbar after just a couple of minutes.
However, it was the hosts who opened the scoring. Jermaine Hylton sprung the offside trap and was initially denied by a super tackle from Nathan Pond, but he then dug out a back post cross for Luke Norris who beat Conor McLaughlin in the air. Norris’ header wrong footed Alex Cairns and the hosts led 1-0 after 11 minutes.
The response from Uwe Rosler’s side was exactly how he would of wanted it to be. Ashley Hunter and Devante Cole had been seeing plenty of the ball, before McLaughlin sprung Hunter down the right, his low cross was expertly guided home by Ball. The former Swindon loanee netting his ninth of the season.
Town’s good spell continued, without any clear cut chances, but more in terms of possession and dominance over their hosts. The front three combination of Chris Long, Cole and Hunter looked sharp, with the latter causing numerous problems down the Town right. Both sides level at the break.
Swindon came out of the blocks the better in the second half. Hylton was at the forefront of the Robins attack and almost created a goal in the opening seconds of the half. His pull back found Norris, who blazed over the bar from just ten yards out.
Then came the key moment of the game. Hylton was brought down in the box by Pond and the referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot. After a long delay, Michael Doughty stepped up but his effort was brilliantly saved by Cairns. The ninth penalty Fleetwood have conceded this season, but the first one saved.
Half time substitute Sean Murray went close 25 minutes from time, but his rasping drive went just wide of Cairns’ right hand post from 30 yards out.
Fleetwood’s best chance of the second half came after Cole was hauled down by Raphael Rossi Branco. The defender was booked, but from the resulting free-kick, Amari’i Bell pulled the ball back for Bobby Grant, but his deflected shot cannoned back off the crossbar.
In truth Town ended the game the better of the two sides. Ball and Cole went close from a corner, with the latter also going down from a Nathan Thompson challenge in the box six minutes from time – no penalty this time.
The match ended all square, with Fleetwood comfortably in the top half going into Christmas.
Swindon: Vigouroux, Thompson, Ormonde-Ottewill, Rodgers, Doughty, Kasim, Furlong, Hylton, Jones, Branco, Norris. Subs: Henry, Thomas, Goddard, Smith, Evans, Murray, Delfouneso.
Fleetwood: Cairns, McLaughlin, Pond, Bolger, Bell, Ball, Glendon, Grant, Hunter, Long, Cole. Subs: Neal, Jonsson, Amadi-Holloway, Davis, Nirennold, Haughton, Jakubiak.
Referee: Mr D Deadman