Town extend unbeaten run to 11 games with impressive win over Blades
Fleetwood stunned top of the table Sheffield United as they ran out 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane.
Goals from Conor McLaughlin and Devante Cole secured the win to stretch Town’s unbeaten run to eleven.
Uwe Rosler made three changes to his side for the visit to the Blades, with Wes Burns and Markus Schwabl given their full debuts. Cole returned to the side in place of David Ball.
Defender Ash Eastham was to have the first chance of what was to be a fiery first half, as he fired over the bar from distance. Billy Sharp then had a great chance to put United ahead at the other end, but his header was well caught by Cairns. This was to set the tone for an end-to-end contest.
Mark Duffy was next to go for the home side, as he scooped his effort over the bar, before arguably the best chance of the game so far fell to Burns at the other end. After being played through down the wing, the new signing weaved his way through the home defence before his effort from a narrow angle took the faintest of touches from goalkeeper Simon Moore.
As United peppered the Fleetwood defence with pressure, a counter attack after they lost possession in midfield was to produce the opening goal. As Bobby Grant received the ball on the edge of the area from Burns, luck was on his side as his shot-come-cross found its way to an on rushing McLaughlin who fired home expertly from inside the box and put the Cod Army ahead.
The goal only provoked an agitated United, who continued to pile the pressure on the away goal, but it was to be another counter attack that almost provided a second goal for the Cod Army. As Kyle Dempsey won possession in his own half, he bared down on goal before playing the perfect through ball to Burns, who found himself one on one with Moore. Moore was to win the battle again as he got down low to deny the new man.
With that chance gone, United again tried in vain for an equaliser as a series of corners were to have no outcome. A free kick in first half stoppage time was well held by Cairns, and it was Town who went into half time with the lead.
The second half was played with much the same tempo, as Sheffield United had the opening chance. Duffy’s long range strike sailed over the bar, before Jack O’Connell blazed a header wide Daniel Lafferty’s corner.
As United’s chances went begging, Fleetwood’s confidence grew. A resolute back line dealt with the long balls, before a long ball of their own put Town into an unlikely two goal lead.
As Schwabl cleared his lines to a waiting Dempsey, the midfielder played the ball over the top towards Cole. As the ball bounced towards the home goal, a mix up between goalkeeper Moore and his defenders allowed the forward to chip the ball into an empty net.
It was 2-0 in the unlikeliest of circumstances – but Town didn’t care!
The game was almost out of sight for United but they continued bombarding the Town goal, but Cairns, and his back four, excellently commanded by Cian Bolger, remained organised.
The introduction of David Ball and George Glendon saw the two combine well, before laying the ball off to Bobby Grant who fired over. That was to be the last chance of a memorable game for Fleetwood, as they maintained their long unbeaten run.
SUFC XI: 25, Simon Moore (GK); 4, John Fleck; 5, Jack O’Connell; 6, Chris Basham; 7, Mark McNulty; 10, Billy Sharp ©; 15, Paul Coutts; 18, Kieron Freeman; 19, Ethan Ebanks-Landell; 21, Mark Duffy; 24, Daniel Lafferty.
Substitutes: 8, Stefan Scougall; 9, Caolan Lavery; 11, Matt Done; 12, Aaron Ramsdale; 13, Jake Wright; 14, Joe Riley; 20, James Wilson
FTFC XI: 21, Alex Cairns (GK); 2, Conor McLaughlin ©; 3 Amari’i Bell; 5, Ashley Eastham; 9, Wes Burns; 11, Bobby Grant; 12, Cian Bolger; 34, Kyle Dempsey; 37, Ben Davies; 38, Markus Schwabl; 44, Devante Cole.
Substitutes: 1, Chris Neal (GK); 10, David Ball; 14, Joe Davis; 18, George Glendon; 19, Chris Long; 22, Ashley Hunter; 43, Joe Maguire.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Attendance: 19’012 (133 away)