Town now unbeaten in 15 after home win
Fleetwood stretched their unbeaten run to 15 games as they battled to hard-fought 2-1 win over play-off rivals Bradford City at Highbury.
Second half goals from Devante Cole and Conor McLaughlin sealed a superb comeback to stun the West Yorkshire side.
Head coach Uwe Rosler made four changes to the goalless draw at home to Rochdale as Cole, Markus Schwabl, Cameron Brannagan and McLaughlin were brought into the starting line up.
With both sides within the play-off places, it was no surprise that the opening period was a tight affair, but Town were first to go close as Amari’i Bell connected with Kyle Dempsey’s corner before firing over. Rory McArdle had the visitors first chance of the night as his header from Nicky Law’s free kick sailed over Alex Cairns’ net.
Cairns was to be the busiest of the two ‘keepers as Jordy Hiwula went close for City, but the Town stopper did well do get down and clear his effort.
Bradford were having the best of the early play, but chances were limited between the two sides as both defences did well to quell pressure. A succession of corners for the away side failed to produce any clear cut chances, but the ball did fall well to Charlie Wyke after a cross from the left, but the striker could only fire over.
Town began to threaten as pace from Cole saw his pull back cleared, but from the loose ball, Brannagan was allowed to shoot from distance, but Bradford stopper Colin Doyle dealt with his shot.
Bradford eventually made their pressure pay with just three minutes of the half remaining as Hiwula was played a neat through ball by Wyke and slotted past Cairns under pressure. That was to be the final action of the first 45, as Town went into the break a goal down.
The second half was quick to get going in an end to end contest. Bradford had the first attack, but the first chance fell to the hosts as Kyle Dempsey twisted and turned his way into a packed penalty area from Brannagan’s knock down, but he couldn’t quite compose his shot.
Soon though, an impressive away side began dominating proceedings, as Hiwula almost doubled his and his side’s tally, but he was thwarted by good defending from Ash Eastham.
With change needed, head coach Uwe Rosler introduced Bobby Grant and Ash Hunter to the fray, in the hope of getting the Cod Army back into the game.
Bradford should have doubled lead when Town failed to clear their lines, allowing Law to play a ball across goal, which fell to Gilliead, but he somehow couldn’t convert from just five yards out.
This miss was to prove costly for the visitors, as just minutes later, Town equalised.
Rosler’s decision to bring on Hunter was decisive as he broke down the right wing, before playing a low cross across the face of goal, which was tapped in by Cole from just yards out.
This was to turn the game on its head the momentum was firmly with Town.
Godswill was introduced to the action, as the Cod Army began to pile on the pressure.
McLaughlin’s strike from 25 yards tested the palms of Doyle, and was to be influential just moments later as from the corner he wriggled his way into the box and forced a low ball across goal, which was turned into his own net by McArdle.
Cole then raced through on goal, but after a tangle with Stephen Darby, was penalised for a foul.
With Town leading, this set up a tense final five minutes as City pushed forward in search of an equaliser. City substitute Billy Clarke’s flick wasn’t enough to beat Cairns, but did force a corner, before Mark Marshall’s long distance effort flew way high of the goal.
Into stoppage time, Bradford continued to throw everything towards the Fleetwood box, but an organised defence resolutely battled to keep the visitors at bay.
Fine play from Grant to keep the ball in the corner as full time neared paid off, as the referee blew an end to the game and made sure Town’s astonishing unbeaten run continued.
FTFC XI: Cairns (GK), McLaughlin ©, Bell, Brannagan (Grant), Eastham (Hunter), Ball, Bolger, Dempsey, Davies, Schwabl (Godswill) , Cole.
Subs: Neal (GK), Davis, Nirrenold, Glendon,
BCAFC XI: Doyle (GK), Darby, Meredith, Law, Vincelot ©, Wyke, Hiwula (Marshall), Cullen (Clarke), Gilliead, Kinight-Percival, McArdle.
Subs: Sattelmaier (GK), Toner, Dieng, Devine, McMahon.