Ched Evans and Wes Burns scored two apiece as Fleetwood Town achieved their biggest ever win in the Football League, beating Scunthorpe United 5-0 at Glanford Park on Wednesday night.
Town were 4-0 to the good after just 29 minutes, with Evans scoring two goals in quick succession, before Burns finished two one-on-ones in a matter of minutes to put Town out of sight.
Shortly after half-time, Hunter scored the pick of the goals with a stunning curling effort from outside the box to put Town 5-0 ahead.
Following a frustrating draw at home against Rochdale on Saturday, Barton made two changes to his team, with Burns and new signing James Husband coming into the starting 11, replacing Kyle Dempsey and Gethin Jones.
Scunthorpe were looking to avoid a third straight defeat in all competitions, and made four changes to the side that suffered a 3-0 defeat at Sunderland on Sunday.
The two sides went into the game at Glanford Park with equal records in League One, both with a single win, draw and defeat in their first three outings, but Town were by far the more dominant side on the night.
In just the seventh minute, the Irons were lucky to still have 11 men on the pitch when striker Josh Morris floored Husband with a scathing two-footed tackle from behind, but referee Carl Boyeson deemed it worthy of just a yellow card.
Fleetwood had the best of the early chances when Madden, who was facing his former club, played it into Ashley Hunter on the left, and his right-footed strike from the edge of the box was almost converted into his own net by Cameron Burgess, with his attempted clearance hitting the crossbar.
Fleetwood’s early dominance paid off when they took the lead in the 16th minute. Burns burst forward down the right wing, and his low cross was pulled back to Hunter, whose effort was well saved by Rory Watson, but Evans was on hand to convert the rebound, scoring for the third game in a row.
Just a minute later, Town doubled their lead, and it was that man Evans again. Hunter picked the ball up on the right, and delivered a brilliant cross to Evans at the back post, who headed in from close range to double the Cod Army’s advantage.
In the 21st minute, Town added a third with some devastating attacking play that was too much for the Scunthorpe back four. Evans flicked the ball through to Burns, who used his lightening pace to evade Burgess and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, before showing great composure to delicately chip the ball over Watson and into the corner of the net.
Scunthorpe had their first clear-cut chance of the match in the 26th minute when George Thomas threaded a clever through ball into Andy Dales, who had just Alex Cairns to beat, but his effort was well saved by the Town stopper.
Fleetwood were in dreamland when they made it 4-0 after just 29 minutes. Madden picked the ball up on the left, his inside pass to Burns saw him clean through on goal, and he clinically finished into the left corner to score his second and Town’s fourth with less than half an hour played.
Scunthorpe almost pulled one back when Morris found space on the left wing, his drilled low cross deflected off Lewie Coyle and almost into the near corner, but a stunning last-ditch save from Cairns stopped the ball on the goal line.
The half-time whistle was met with a chorus of boos from the home crowd, but manager Barton would’ve been delighted with his side’s ruthless first half performance.
Fleetwood continued their dominance in the second half, and it paid off when they scored a fifth goal in the 56th minute. Evans picked the ball up 20 yards from goal, before Funso Ojo fouled him with a reckless tackle. The referee played a good advantage, and after picking up the ball outside the area on the left, Hunter curled in an inch-perfect effort into the top right corner.
Midfielder Jason Holt almost scored a sixth for Town when short corner found the Rangers loanee in the area, but his effort was bent just past the far post.
Burns was then close to finding his hat-trick in the 65th minute, but his dipping volley from just outside the box went wide.
Scunthorpe looked for a consolation goal through substitute Ryan Colcough, but after cutting in from the right, he dragged his effort well wide of Cairns’ near post.
The referee blew for full-time as Town sealed an emphatic 5-0 victory, their biggest ever football league win, eclipsing the 5-1 home win over Swindon in November 2015.
It was ultimately a night to forget for the home side, but for Fleetwood and Barton, it was a night to remember.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Eastham, Morgan ©, Husband, Holt, Marney, Burns, Madden (Long 78’), Hunter (McAleny 68’), Evans (Grant 61’).
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Spurr, Biggins, Sheron.
Scunthorpe United: Watson (GK), Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Ojo, Humphrys (Novak 69’), Morris, Dales, Perch (Horsfield 85’), Thomas (Colcough 60’), Burgess, McArdle ©.
Subs not used: Flatt, Lund, Goode, Butroid.