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Match Reports

Report: McAleny stunner in injury time seals massive win

Sub fires Town to key victory over Oxford United

10 April 2018

Fleetwood took all three points in dramatic style at Oxford United as Conor McAleny scored a screamer in stoppage time to take all three points from the Kassam Stadium.

It was in the final minute of stoppage time that McAleny received the ball on the left, took a touch and smashed it into the net in style. 

Bobby Grant had the best chances for Fleetwood in the game, but it was Oxford who were the stronger side in the second half and had threatened to score, but Alex Cairns produced outstanding saves to keep United at bay.

Victory for the Cod Army pushes them onto 54 points, and into the top half of the Sky Bet League One table.

Head coach John Sheridan made three changes to the side that lost 3-2 to Rotherham United on Saturday, with Gethin Jones, Grant and Jordy Hiwula being handed starts ahead of Nathan Pond, McAleny and Paddy Madden.

Town started brightly in Oxfordshire and forced a succession of corners early on in the contest. It was from the third in a row that Fleetwood mustered the first effort of the game, as Grant lashed one wide from the edge of the area.

Oxford responded with a chance of their own as Alex Mowatt struck narrowly wide from outside the area. The hosts were on the offensive, and had another chance from Joe Rothwell, but it proved a comfortable gather for Cairns.

The game had become very physical with both sides showing their strength in midfield, meaning that neither side could find a foothold in the match. Oxford were demonstrating some good attacking play, but Town’s defence meant they were seldom able to break into the penalty area.

The closest either side came inside half an hour was a thunderous strike from Ricardinho, who struck the ball just wide of the right hand post after a dangerous counter attack.

Fleetwood were able to enjoy a lengthy spell of possession towards the end of the half, with Kyle Dempsey eventually finding space to shoot, but Oxford’s tight backline reduced him simply to a long-range chance.

It was almost half time when either keeper had a save to make, when Cairns was forced to tip a looping header from Wes Thomas over his bar.

Oxford took confidence from that straight into the second half and should have led inside the opening minute of the second period when Thomas fired wide with only Cairns in his way.

Fleetwood were able to capitalise on a poor backpass from an Oxford defender that allowed Grant to race clear with Hiwula to his left. Simon Eastwood came out quickly from his goal to narrow the angles for Grant, who wasn’t able to neither convert nor slide through to Hiwula, as Oxford received a huge let off.

Dempsey turned well on the edge of the area and forced another save from Eastwood, as the goalkeeper kept out Town twice in as many minutes as Fleetwood piled on the pressure. Grant was then allowed a header inside the six-yard box as he connected to Ash Hunter’s curling cross.

Cairns was having a good night in the sticks, highlighted none more so than the save he produced midway through the second period. Thomas was able to breach the Fleetwood defence, wriggle his was into the area, and fire low towards goal, but Cairns produced a heroic save from just a few yards out to deny the United man.

Oxford upped the anti as the game headed into the final 15 minutes, with a last ditch clearance needed to keep the ball out of the Town net after a penalty area scramble.

Hunter had a great chance to put Fleetwood in front just eight minutes from time as his free kick forced Eastwood into a diving save.

Straight up the other end Oxford went, this time Thomas missing another chance as he volleyed over from inside the area.

Ultimately, this game was to be settled in injury time, as McAleny stepped up in the 93rd minute to curl past Eastwood in emphatic style and bring the points back to Lancashire for Sheridan’s men.

Oxford XI: Eastwood (GK), Ledson, Thomas (Van Kessel), Brannagan, Dickie, Rothwell (Ruffels), Kane, Richardinho, Mowatt, Mehmeti (Obika), Mousinho.

Substitutes not used: Nelson, Shearer (GK), Martin, Napa.

Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Eastham, Hiwula (McAleny), Dempsey (Glendon), Grant (Madden), Bolger ©, Diagouraga, Jones, Hunter, Sowerby.

Substitutes not used: Pond, Burns, Biggins, Neal (GK).

Referee: B Malone

Attendance: 6,337 (57 away)


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