Fleetwood Town secured a key 1-0 victory over Burton Albion on Saturday in torrential conditions at Highbury.
Ched Evans converted a penalty to give Town three points early in the second half, after he was brought down in the area.
It was a very professional display from Joey Barton’s side, who made it six games unbeaten at home, and with the three points subsequently moved back into the top ten in Sky Bet League One.
Barton made three changes to the team from last weekend’s loss at Luton. In came Conor McAleny – who made his 50th appearance for the club – Ash Hunter and Lewie Coyle.
Within the first ten minutes both teams had not created any dangerous chance, with both sides competing with the weather.
Paddy Madden’s interception just past the halfway line, in the 12th minute, meant that Town were able to catch Burton on the counter attack. Hunter was on the end of Madden’s through ball before cutting inside on the edge of the 18-yard-box and finding Evans. The on-loan striker was able to get a shot away, but Albion got bodies in front to deflect it out for a corner.
Scott Fraser gave the visitors their first chance, just ten minutes later, the midfielder was able to curl one towards goal but the shot sailed over the bar.
Alex Cairns’ clearance led to a brilliant counter attack for Fleetwood, as McAleny was given the space to burst down the right wing before pulling it back to Madden but the Irishman’s shot was blocked.
A brilliant chance for Town came in the 40th minute, after a brilliant quick free kick sent Coyle down the flank who was able to pick out Evans inside the area, but the striker couldn’t get a shot away.
The Cod Army came out faster after the break with some great play down the left wing between Holt and Hunter, allowing Holt to cut in and win a corner.
The resulting corner led to some play on the right wing, with Hunter whipping a dangerous cross into the six yard box. The cross was not dealt with properly by Bradley Collins in goal, giving the ball to Evans who was then brought down in the area, resulting in a penalty.
Evans stood over the ball in the 53rd minute and made no mistake in putting it in the back of the net. A cool finish.
Burton reacted well and almost found an equaliser just a minute later but, substitute, Marcus Harness was denied by Cairns.
The away side continued the pressure as a chance came to Burton from a corner as a sloppy clearance fell to Jamie Allen who’s shot was met by Cairns at full stretch.
The game began to open up and became very end to end, with Hunter almost catching Collins out, after his cross was taken by the wind.
Nathan Sheron came to the rescue for Town, as he threw his body in the way, to block Lucas Atkins’ shot from 10 yards out.
Town had the ball in the back of the net for a second time, in the 66th minute, after Dean Marney deflected Madden’s shot but it was disallowed for offside.
A through ball from Evans to substitute Kyle Dempsey almost put him through on goal but the sub was unable to get it under control.
Joey Barton’s men are now unbeaten in six games at Highbury in Sky Bet League One, and this result now means that it is three consecutive clean sheets at home.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns; Coyle, Eastham, Sheron, R Wallace; Hunter, Holt, Marney, McAleny; Evans, Madden
Subs: Jones (GK), Dempsey, Bolger, Taylor, Biggins, Garner, Rydel
Burton Albion: Collins, Atkins, Brayford, Turner, Hutchinson; Allen, Quinn, Fraser; Miller, Boyce, Hesketh
Subs: Bywater (GK), Buxton, Templeton, Fox, Harness, Wallace, Cole