Two goals on debut from Toumani Diagouraga and Paddy Madden made it three consecutive league away wins for Fleetwood Town with a 2-1 win over Southend United on Saturday.
Southend added a consolation late on through Michael Kightly’s deflected effort, but two goals in the space of five second half minutes were enough for victory.
Town asserted their dominance with an impressive display, which featured an inspired substitution from Uwe Rosler. Within five minutes of Madden’s introduction, the Irishman had scored one and assisted one, to help the Cod Army on their way to a brilliant victory.
Rosler made two changes from last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup, with Diagouraga making his Fleetwood Town debut in midfield, replacing George Glendon. Nathan Pond replaced Ashley Eastham at the back.
There was little action in a quiet opening period to the game, however Wes Burns’ nice piece of skill then shot – which was sprayed wide - marked the first chance of the game and more chances soon followed.
Next, there was a golden chance for Town to take the lead as a free kick was swung into the box and headed against the bar by Devante Cole. Markus Schwabl tried his luck with the rebound, but Southend were able to clear.
Kyle Dempsey took advantage of a mistake at the back with a piercing run towards goal that allowed Cole a shot from the lay off, which was blocked by Anton Ferdinand and ushered top safety.
Southend’s efforts were limited but Michael Timlin did see a long range chance fly high over the stand.
When Burns broke through the middle he had a great chance to open the scoring. With Dempsey to his left, Town were 2-on-1 against Ferdinand, but the defender ushered Burns towards the corner before he had the chance to pass, with backtracking home players able to clear the danger.
Such was the sluggishness of the first half, it took two minutes into the second for the first corner of the game to be awarded. Southend didn’t take advantage as Amari’i Bell cleared, but they were to come closer through Kightly’s free kick.
At the other end, Bell’s strike from outside the area was deflected wide.
The first shot on target in the match came through Stephen McLaughlin, as his weave into the area ended with an effort straight into the palms of Chris Neal.
Rosler introduced Madden into the action, replacing Wes Burns, as the Irishman joined Diagouraga in the debutant category.
This substitution proved to be inspired as the two combined instantly. Madden’s first touch saw him play a smart through ball to Diagouraga who smashed it past Mark Oxley from just yards out. The move came as Ash Hunter took advantage of a mistake by Ferdinand.
Rosler’s once again proved he was a tactical mastermind as within five minutes, Madden had a goal to add to his assist. An impressive flick on from Dempsey played the debutant through on goal, who composed himself and smashed into the back of the net, despite the best efforts of the tussling defender.
Fleetwood’s second half dominance continued as they looked increasingly likely to add to their tally. Cian Bolger had a header deflected over from a corner, followed by some nice attacking which looked dangerous.
Madden was proving himself to be a worthy addition to Rosler’s side as his distribution was a key component to several Fleetwood attacks. Laying balls off, and spraying the diagonal balls, Madden was impressing his new manager and the hardy Cod Army who travelled to Roots Hall in expectation.
Despite rarely threatening Neal, Southend found themselves back in the game in fortunate circumstances as cleared corner found its way to Kightly, whose effort took a wild deflection off Bolger and looped over Neal and into the back of the net.
Fleetwood had a chance to add a third before the final whistle, but Conor McAleny’s shot from 18 yards was smashed into a defender. Southend sent their goalkeeper up in the final moments in desperation to find an equaliser, but alas Fleetwood defended gallantly and victory was sealed.
Southend United XI: Oxley (GK), Coker, Ferdinand ©, Turner (Hendrie), Kightly, Timlin, Cox (Wabo), McLaughlin, McGlashan, Demetriou, White.
Subs not used: Bishop (GK), Fortune, Ba, Kyprianou, Bwomono.
Fleetwood Town XI: Neal (GK), Coyle (Jones), Bell, Pond ©, Dempsey, Burns (Madden), Bolger, Diagouraga, Hunter, Schwabl, Cole (McAleny).
Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Hiwula, Grant, Sowerby.
Referee: Anthony Coggins
Attendance: 6,444 (45 away)