Goals from Paddy Madden and Ched Evans secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Saturday afternoon.
On a glorious afternoon on the Fylde Coast, it was Fleetwood who took the lead through Madden – making it four goals in as many games.
Evans made his second debut for the club coming on as a second half substitute, and made it two nil midway through the second half to give the Cods all three points.
Stanley winger Sean McConville was sent off with 15 minutes to go for a slap on Evans, but the result was in doubt well before that decision.
As seen on a number of occasions under Joey Barton’s tenure, his side started off the game on the front foot and looked hungry from the first whistle.
Paul Coutts had the first chance of the game after great build up play from the home side. Wes Burns set up the midfielder, however the former Sheffield United man just hit his shot over from outside the box.
Town were on top for the first quarter of the game and when Lewie Coyle broke down the right flank, he found himself in an unusual position just outside the opponents’ penalty box. He struck his effort well, with Dimitar Evtimov making a good save in the Stanley goal.
Accrington’s first shot at goal came with their first meaningful attack. McConville drifted inside onto his first foot and pulled the trigger. His shot was deflected for a corner.
With the resulting corner, the visitors nearly opened the scoring. Mark Hughes’ header back across goal caused problems in the Town penalty area, with Paddy Madden there to clear the danger deep inside the penalty area.
The man who saved Barton’s side from going a goal down then made it one nil to the Cod Army. The Irishman got onto the end of a lovely move and slotted Coyle’s cross off into the far corner. A superb first-time finish!
Ashley Hunter nearly made it two nil moments after, but he saw his low driven strike at goal saved by the Stanley goalkeeper.
As the two sides went in for the half-time break, the temperature inside the stadium rose with the fans optimistic of Barton’s side remaining unbeaten on home soil this season.
Hunter and Madden linked up well five minutes into the second half, with the inform striker giving Hunter the assist, but the wide man failed to hit the target with his half volley.
Stanley reacted to the quick start from Town, and when Colby Bishop rose the highest inside the penalty area, his looping header looked goal bound. Gilks was there to tip the ball over crossbar.
Evans made his second debut for the club just after the hour mark, and received a huge round of applause from the Cod Army as he replaced Madden as the lone striker.
And within minutes, he had the chance to put Town ahead and double their lead. Harrison Biggins broke forward and picked out the Welshman – whose firm effort at goal was saved.
It was from the penalty spot he made it two goals to the good for Fleetwood. Josh Morris was fouled in the area and there was only one man who was taking it. Coolly as you like, he slotted it past the keeper into the corner.
The drama continued at Highbury with McConville being shown a straight red for a raised arm on Evans – and with the referee right under it, there was only one card that was being shown.
The Cod Army were comfortable late on, and deservedly came away with the points!
Town XI: Gilks (GK), Coyle, Souttar, Clarke (Eastham 57’), Andrew, Rossiter, Coutts ©, Hunter (Biggins 63’), Burns, Morris, Madden (Evans 63’)
Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Eastham, Dempsey, Wallace, Sheron
Accrington XI: Evitmov (GK), Johnson, Hughes, Sykes, Clark, Finley, McConville, Francis-Angol, Bishop, Conneely ©, Charles (Zanzala 58’)
Subs not used: Bursik (GK), Edwards, Kaba Sherif, Pritchard, Maguire, Barclay