Mark Duffy's brace ensured the Brewers won the gameWes Burns’ second half goal wasn’t enough as ten man Fleetwood Town fell to a 2-1 defeat at Burton Albion.
The defeat ended Fleetwood’s three match unbeaten run in League One, as a Mark Duffy double, either side of the half time interval, sealed all three points for the League One leaders.
Northern Irish international Conor McLaughlin returned to the first team line-up after missing the last couple of weeks through injury. Wes Burns dropped to the bench, Victor Nirennold played in the midfield three whilst David Ball joined front pair Ash Hunter and Shola Ameobi in attack.
Town, unbeaten in their last three games, were coming up against a Burton Albion side looking to extend their lead at the summit of League One despite their loss at Bradford City on Tuesday night.
In the fifth minute, Burton had their first sight on goal as central midfielder Calum Butcher cleverly turned away from Fleetwood defender Joe Davis on the edge of the penalty box, striking first time the effort was always rising over
the cross bar.
Butcher’s effort sparked Burton into life as they had three attempts on goal in a frantic four minute period.
Former Leicester City youngster Hamza Choudhury, striker Stuart Beavon and Lucas Akins all missed efforts for the hosts from great goal scoring positions.
The contest soon turned into a scrappy affair, which favoured Fleetwood Town, as Burton were piling the pressure on at the start of the game.
However, in the 26th minute, a well worked move from the hosts concluded with Duffy firing home is sixth goal of the season.
Full back Damien McCrory delivered a cross from the left channel to Duffy on the opposite side, cleverly dropping a shoulder; the on loan Birmingham City winger outwitted his former academy team mate at St Andrews Amari’i Bell to round the defender and whistle a right footed effort past Chris Maxwell.
Two minutes later and Albion should have doubled their lead at the Pirelli Stadium as McCrory again crossed a delightful ball into the middle, as Tom Naylor lost his mark Victor Nirennold to blast a header against the cross bar.
Burton pilled on the pressure for the remainder of the first half, as they refused Fleetwood time to settle in possession as the Cod Army continued to persist with playing their way out from the back.
But at the start of the second half, Town’s tactics paid dividends as substitute Burns scored with his first touch of the football, but the majority of the praise has to be reserved for left back Bell.
At half time, manager Steven Pressley introduced Burns for David Ball and it was the perfect substitution.
Starting from the edge of his own penalty area, Bell raced forward, gliding past three Albion challenges like they were not even there to deliver an inch perfect cross from the by-line. Waiting in the penalty box was an unmarked
Burns who completed the job by hammering home from point blank range with his first touch.
Burton didn’t let their heads drop after conceding the equaliser and soon after, an excellent save from Maxwell denied Choudhury as the Welsh keeper was quick down with a strong left hand save.
Man of the Match Duffy restored Burton’s lead in the 62nd minute. After an initial Burton attack, Fleetwood only partially cleared the ball into the path of Duffy and from the left hand side, he curled an absolute beauty from 20-yards
right round the outstretched arm of Maxwell, a real piece of quality!
A moment of madness occurred four minutes later for the Cod Army as substitute Grant was dismissed, less than a minute after coming on for Nirennold.
Grant had an altercation with Lucas Akins and he kicked the Burton winger in the chest, resulting in referee Oliver Langford having no option but to send the midfielder off.
Devante Cole was introduced soon after for Town in place of Ameobi as Town looked for a way back against Albion.
And Bell had a sniff on goal with eight minutes remaining after Town worked the ball into the penalty area, but there was no threat on Jon McLaughlin’s goal.
Town’s last chance to try and take a point back to the North West fell to Cole, but Bell’s cross was just too high for the striker, and stretching, his header was over the cross bar.
Photo courtesy of Camera Sport