Ten man Fleetwood Town suffered their first home league defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost 4-2 to Southend United.
Simon Cox gave The Blues the lead inside two minutes, before Amari’i Bell brilliantly equaliser with a header just moments later. However a Stephen McLaughlin strike and Nile Ranger penalty, combined with a red card for Aiden O’Neill and a late breakaway goal from Jermaine McGlashan ensured Phil Brown’s side took the points at Highbury. Devante Cole headed an injury time goal home, as Town kept going until the final whistle.
Uwe Rosler made three changes to his side from last week’s game at Portsmouth, with Wes Burns, Bobby Grant and Markus Schwabl in, with Jordy Hiwula and George Glendon dropping to the bench. Kyle Dempsey was suspended.
The match started at lightning pace and the away side won a soft free kick around 30 yards from goal inside the opening 90 seconds. McLaughlin floated a cross in which was met by Cox and subsequently beat Alex Cairns in the Cod Army goal.
However, straight from the kick-off, Town responded. Cian Bolger’s long ball was dealt with by the visiting defence and Bell pounced to bravely head home past the onrushing Mark Oxley.
Southend then had another free-kick which found Cox, this time his shot was brilliantly cleared off the line from Schwabl.
Then came a crucial moment of the game. Cairns passed to O’Neill who took a heavy tough inside his own half, was tackled by Ryan Leonard and then the on-loan Burnley defender brought him down. O’Neill was the last man and was dismissed by referee Carl Boyeson.
The extra man seemed to free space for McLaughlin, who found space in the area and a quick passing move to prod past Cairns to restore Southend’s lead.
Then – right on half-time – the away side were awarded a controversial penalty when Nathan Pond was adjudged to have brought down Ranger. Mr Boyeson pointed to the spot and Ranger stepped up and send Cairns the wrong way. 3-1 at the break.
Glendon, Hiwula and Ash Hunter were all introduced as Rosler’s side forced a way back into the game in the second half, and were more than a match for Southend despite the man disadvantage.
Grant tested Oxley with the best effort of the second stanza, but the Southend stopper was equal to his shot from inside the area.
Substitute McGlashan then added gloss to the victory with a breakaway goal, firing home off the inside of the post with three minutes left.
However, Town didn’t give up, and Cole got his rewards for a solid performance with a simple header from a great Hunter cross to reduce the score line in injury time.
Town now travel to Bradford City on Tuesday night.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Bell, O’Neill, Eastham (Hunter), Pond, Burns (Glendon), Grant, Bolger, Schwabl (Hiwula), Cole. Subs (not used): Neal, Godswill, Nadesan, Sowerby.
Southend: Oxley, Wordsworth (Hendrie), Ferdinand, Timlin, Cox, McLaughlin (McGlashan), Leonard, Demetriou, Kyprianou, Wright, Ranger (Fortune). Subs (not used): Bishop, Yearwood, Robinson, White.