Fleetwood ended their run of four straight defeats with a hard-earned 1-1 draw with high flying Sheffield United...
David Ball’s 13th minute opener was cancelled out by an Ethan Ebanks-Landell header five minutes into stoppage time.
The visitors arrived at Highbury in good spirits after securing five wins out of their last six Sky Bet League One games and it didn’t take them too long to forge the first chance of the game.
A slick through ball was picked up by Matt Done just inside the penalty area, the midfielder tried to slide the ball under the advancing Chris Neal but the ex-Port Vale ‘keeper did superbly well to make himself big and overt any danger.
The early momentum from the visitors was halted as Fleetwood began to get a foothold in game. It was in the 13th minute where the deadlock was broken. Some good initial play from Chris Long saw his effort cleared off the line by Ebanks-Landell before top scorer Ball followed the shot in to slot the rebound home.
Just before the half an hour mark Uwe Rosler’s side could have doubled their lead. Some smart play from Jimmy Ryan saw him cut the ball back to the edge of the area where Ball was situated, his thunderous attempt was push out for a corner kick.
The game then became a bit of an end to end affair which saw the Blades have the next effort on goal. Some lovely footwork by former Doncaster Rovers man Billy Sharp saw his shot saved by the feet of Neal in the Cod Army goal.
After that attempt it was the hosts turn to test the keeper, a solo effort from Kyle Dempsey saw the Huddersfield Town loanee carry the ball well into the visitors half before pulling the trigger from 25-yards out. Unfortunately for the 21-yard old his right –footed curler was well saved by Simon Moore in the Blades goal.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure as the clock ticked down to half-time but they could not square the game up before the break.
Half-time: Fleetwood Town 1-0 Sheffield United
10 minutes after the break the first opportunity of the half arose, a well worked play by Ball and Long eventually saw the latter have a stunning effort palmed away before the lively Bobby Grant sent his curling effort just over Moore’s crossbar.
A minute later it was Sheffield United’s turn to attack, some quick footwork from Sharp again created the space for him to pull the ball back to the penalty spot where John Fleck was waiting. The ex-Rangers man saw his left-footed effort superbly saved once again by the legs of a diving Neal.
It was the Blades who had the next chance of the game and it was Sharp once again, a whipped cross from substitute Chris Hussey was aimed towards the head of Sharp but the forward could not angle his effort on target.
With less than 10 minutes of the game remaining, Chris Wilder’s side continued to press for that ever elusive equaliser. Hussey nearly got lucky with his drilled cross which took a deflection off Nathan Pond, thankfully for the skipper the ball hit the outside of the post before heading out for a corner.
Fleetwood were straight up the other end of the pitch and could have had the game sown up but for the heroics from Moore in the Blades goal, a cross from Martyn Woolford picked out the head of fellow substitute Ashley Hunter who forced a stunning one-handed save from the keeper.
The visitors as the old cliché goes ‘started to throw the kitchen sink’ at Town and with less than 30 seconds left on the clock they were rewarded for their efforts.
Another whipped cross Hussey was headed home by Ebanks-Landell who was up from the back, the 6ft 2inch defender bulleted his header into the bottom right corner to inflict misery on Neal who has been superb all game.
FTFC: Neal; Duckworth, Pond, Eastham, Bell; McLaughlin, Ryan, Dempsey, Grant; Ball, Long. Subs: Cairns (GK), Jonsson, Bolger, Hunter, Woolford, Cole, Jakubiak.