An inspired second half performance saw Fleetwood Town beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 to make it back-to-back victories to start the 2019/20 Sky Bet League One season.
The first half didn’t go to plan for Joey Barton’s side, with The Dons taking a 1-0 lead into the break after Kwesi Appiah headed home a brilliant diagonal cross into the box.
However, that wasn’t enough for the visitors as substitute Paddy Madden and Josh Morris both scored in the second half making it two straight wins for the Cod Army at the beginning of this league campaign.
Fleetwood had a great opportunity to get an early lead after Lewie Coyle’s cut back found Conor McAleny but the striker didn’t connect properly and saw his effort cancelled out by Wimbledon’s defence. His follow up effort was blocked by Paul Kalambayi, with the Town frontman appealing for a penalty but it was waved away by the referee.
The visitors were the first to have the ball in the back of the net after a free-kick was whipped into the six-yard box and headed past Alex Cairns, but it was ruled out thanks to a well-positioned Town defence that stood firm to play the attacker offside. Appiah denied for now.
Both teams grew into the game, but the weather conditions were causing problems for both sides. Fleetwood continued to push for an opening goal, with Wes Burns, Morris and McAleny causing issues for AFC Wimbledon.
However, it was The Dons who were able to open the scoring at Highbury after Luke O’Niell’s diagonal ball into the box found Appiah, in space, who was able to head home to out the visitors in front. A quality cross was met by a well-timed header.
Town were now in search of an equaliser and threatened from a free-kick, after McAleny was brought down unfairly. Paul Coutts’ free-kick was delivered towards the back post and went just wide of the post after a Wimbledon player got a touch on it.
Wimbledon went into the break at half-time with a one goal lead, but it was Fleetwood who started quicker. Madden was brought on for Harrison Biggins at half-time and almost made an immediate impact when he connected with Morris’ low cross, but the Irishman was flagged for offside.
The Cod Army continued to push for an equaliser and this time it was McAleny who came so close to finding it. Jordan Rossiter switched the play to Coyle who was allowed the time and space to drive at the defence before picking out McAleny on the edge of the area, with the striker hitting it first time - just wide of the post.
It wasn’t long until Fleetwood found the equaliser, with Madden converting a brilliant passage of play. Coyle picked out McAleny who then played a one touch pass into Burns, with the Welshman finding Madden in the six-yard box, waiting to pass the ball into the net! A real moment of quality.
The visitors were under a lot of pressure at the back due to the high amount of attacks from a confident, fast paced Fleetwood Town and in the 65th minute the Cod Army found themselves a goal ahead.
After a scramble in the box from a Fleetwood corner the ball ended up with Morris on the right wing who looked to cross it towards the back post, but the wind got underneath it to change its direction and the ball ended up in the back of Nik Tzanev’s goal.
Madden continued to be a threat since being brought on and almost increased the lead to two goals after his shot with the outside of his foot marginally missed the far post.
An inspired second half performance means that Fleetwood start the new season in perfect fashion.
Fleetwood Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Andrew, Clarke, Souttar, Burns, McAleny (Sowerby 87’), Morris (Hunter 78’), Coutts (C), Rossiter, Biggins (Madden 46’).
Subs not used: Crellin (GK), Eastham, Wallace, Sheron.
AFC Wimbledon XI: Tzanev (GK), O’Niell, McDonald (Connelly 77’), Thomas, Hartigan (McLoughlin 70’), Appiah, Pinnock (Folivi 85’), Guinness-Walker, Kalambayi, Reilly, Pigott (C).
Subs not used: McDonnell (GK), Wagstaff, Roscrow, Rudoni.