Fleetwood Town scored two late goals to secure a well-deserved three points in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Oxford United.
Bobby Grant’s 89th minute strike, coupled with a Jordy Hiwula injury time finish ensured all three points for Uwe Rosler’s side.
Uwe Rosler made three changes to the side that faced Shrewsbury last weekend; with Grant coming in to make his 100th league appearance for the club – George Glendon and Cian Bolger were also named in the side.
Town started off brightly at Highbury and were unlucky not to opening the scoring when ex-Oxford United loanee Conor McAleny – who scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for The U’s last season - was through on goal but he saw his shot deflect out for the first corner of the match.
It was the hosts who were nearly gifted a chance after Cian Bolger’s long ball over the top caught out the back four of Oxford, however, McAleny couldn’t bring the ball down to see him one on one with the keeper Simon Eastwood.
Both sides moved the ball around well in the first quarter of the match, but it was the visitors who had a glorious chance. Alex Mowatt found some space on the left hand side; he delivered the ball into the box, which saw Wes Thomas’ header stray off target. Moments later, Thomas was denied by Alex Cairns after James Henry played him through leaving him one on one with the goalkeeper. A big save.
Just before half-time, Jack Payne linked up well with striker partner Thomas, and after his flick-on fell nicely for the attacker, he struck it cleanly on the volley just wide of Cairns’ right hand post. The score line remained goalless as Mr. Kettle blew for the interval.
The second half began positively for Town as Bobby Grant’s volley from the byline dipped just before the goal and caused Eastwood to make a brave decision to leave it, and see it narrowly over the crossbar.
Town’s top goal scorer Devante Cole came close to opening the deadlock after setting himself him up nicely with a cushioned header, he struck a vicious volley at goal which need to be saved by Eastwood as it was sneaking in at the near post.
The home side grew in confidence from Cole’s effort and went on the front foot with this opportunity falling again nicely to Cole after Lewie Coyle took on Tiandalli. The striker mugged Mousinho before unleashing a powerful shot on goal, which was eventually blocked by Nelson and punted down the field to relieve pressure on his defenders.
With the windy conditions playing havoc throughout the match, it affected Fleetwood’s attack with twenty minutes to go. Dempsey picked up the ball from deep inside his own half, McAleny made a well-timed run to beat the offside trap; and if it wasn’t due to the wind, it would have seen him through on goal.
McAleny was involved again and after twisting and turning the Oxford defense inside and out; despite finding room on his left footed strike, his effort on target was blocked by Mousinho’s outstretched leg.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Uwe Rosler made two attacking changes that saw Cole and McAleny come off for Ashley Hunter and Jordy Hiwula. Hunter made an instant impact after a clever one two with Glendon allowed the winger to tuck inside on his favoured right foot and make Eastwood pull off a smart save.
Thomas latched onto a loose by Bolger late in the game and looked to steal all three points away from Rosler’s side but his solo effort from 18 yards sailed over Cairns’ in the Town goal.
With two minutes of normal time left, it was left to Grant to score what turned out to be the match winner. He picked the ball up on the right hand side, the Oxford defenders failed to close the man of the moment down, and his low driven shot nestled in the bottom corner to send the crowd wild.
The celebrations didn't end there and it was substitute Jordy Hiwula who sealed all three points for Rosler's side. On the counter attack Town broke down the right wing, the ball across found Grant who unselfishly passed back across to goal to Hiwula who knocked the ball into an open net.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Bell, Eastham, Dempsey, McAleny (Hunter), Grant, Bolger ©, Glendon (O'Neill, Cargill, Cole (Hiwula).
Subs: Neal (GK), O’Neill, Pond, Hiwula, Burns, Hunter, Schwabl.
Oxford United XI: Eastwood (GK), Ribeiro, Tiandalli, Nelson ©, Ledson, Thomas, Payne (Obika), Ruffels, Henry, Mowatt (Rothwell), Mousinho
Subs: Shearer (GK), Williamson, Martin, Hall, Rothwell, Fernandez, Obika
Referee: T Kettle
Attendance: 3261 (609 away).