Fleetwood Town extended their unbeaten record in Sky Bet League One to six games after a 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday.
Paddy Madden opened the scoring for the away side after Ash Hunter’s out-swinging corner found the Irishman inside the box after ten minutes. However, just before the half-time whistle, Josh Maja’s header found the back of the net to take the teams in level after the opening 45 minutes.
Madden had a chance to seal the points for the Cod Army, but home keeper Jon McLaughlin saved his second half penalty.
Head coach Joey Barton made just the one change to the side that started last week at home to Bradford City, with Conor McAleny replacing the suspended Wes Burns.
Sunderland started the game off the better side and went close only two minutes after the referee’s whistle. The ball was well worked on the left flank before being crossed into the box. Lynden Gooch was unmarked at the back post, but he shot wide.
Ash Hunter was lively and nearly helped the Cod Army take upper hand after the winger had the full-back on toast inside the Black Cats’ box, however his cross to Ched Evans had just too much on it for him to convert his chance on goal.
Town took the lead through Madden nine minutes into the match as he headed the ball home from close range. Hunter took the corner on the right, he whipped it into the box for the Irishman to nod it past McLaughlin between the sticks.
Evans should have made it two nil after Madden delivered a peach of a cross to the Welshman. James Husband did ever so well to pick out Madden, who had the composure to knock it back into the danger zone. What a chance for Town to double their lead.
Barton found himself making an early change as skipper Craig Morgan limped off with an injury. Tommy Spurr made way onto the pitch alongside Eastham at the back.
Maja equalised for the home side five minutes before the break. Gooch got to the by-line on the left wing, he chipped it into the near post and Maja was there to glace his header across Alex Cairns, onto the post, and into the net.
Fleetwood started off the second half bright and won themselves a penalty just two minutes in. Husband was fouled into the box and it was Madden – who scored in the first half – who stepped up and saw his shot saves from 12-yards out. A glorious chance for Town to take the lead for the second time.
Moments later, and after quick thinking on a free-kick, Marney played in Evans who had the goal glaring in front of him, sent his shot wide of the goal. A number of chances have fallen the Cod Army’s way, but they have failed to capitalise on their openings.
Jack Baldwin missed a sitter from just two-yards out. The winger did well to worm his way into the box after Gooch’s powerful run on the wing. The ball came in and it looked goal bound, but then over for Baldwin to side foot his shot high and wide.
The game seemed to settle down with just over 20 minutes left of the ninety, but the fans from both sides pushed their team on to get that goal that probably would be the winner at the Stadium of Light.
A hero was needed at the death when Sunderland were pressing to get the winner in front of their home fans. After Wyke’s header from five-yards and the crowd out of their seats, Cairns crawled the ball from behind him, on the goal line to deny the Black Cats, but that wasn’t it. Gooch was on the follow up and went near post with his shot, and again Town’s number one saved with his feet.
Both teams went all out in the remaining minutes left, but a draw is what either side will take away with them.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Holt, Eastham, Evans, McAleny (Dempsey 60’), Madden, Morgan © (Spurr 23’), Hunter (Wallace 89’), Marney, Husband
Subs not used: P. Jones (GK), Long, Biggins, Sheron.
Sunderland XI: McLaughlin (GK), Matthews (Flanagan 73’), Loovens, Cattermole. Maguire (Sinclair 51’), McGeouch, Honeyman ©, Gooch, Baldwin, Maja (Wyke 63’), Hume.
Subs not used: Ruiter, Ozturk, O’Nien, James.