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Report: Cod Army suffer narrow defeat to league leaders

Madden goal not enough for a point at Highb

16 February 2019

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Fleetwood Town were unable to upset the Sky Bet League One leaders as they lost 2-1 to Luton Town at Highbury Stadium.

A fantastic free-kick in the first half from George Moncur was the only thing to separate the two teams in what was an end to end first half. Both teams created chances and Town were very much in it.

Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu was able to double the visitors’ lead in the 49th minute, which was enough to see out Paddy Madden’s late finish, as the game ended in a 2-1 defeat for Fleetwood. 

It was the visitors who kicked the game off, but Fleetwood Town started off the brighter side. Town forced an early corner after some great work from Madden and Lewie Coyle on the right, but James Shea was able to claim it comfortably.

Pressure from the Cod Army continued and in the seventh minute Ross Wallace was allowed the space to shoot from distance, but his effort was held by Shea between the sticks.

Luton’s first chance of the game came four minutes later when Andrew Shinnie’s effort was blocked by Ashley Eastham, following a corner routine that played the ball to the edge of the 18-yard-box.

The game continued to be end to end and rather even however The Hatters enjoyed a spell of possession but couldn’t create anything from it. Fleetwood then tried to capitalise from a poor clearance by Shea who was out of his box, but R. Wallace’s attempt was sliced out for a corner by Sonny Bradley.

In the 35th minute, Wallace forced some defensive issues for Luton with the delivery of his free kick and the visitors could only clear as far as Madden, but he couldn’t find the target with his effort.

Six minutes later and the visitors took the lead after a stunning free-kick from George Moncur, who curled the ball into the top corner from 25-yards. The free-kick was the only difference separating the two teams heading into the break.

Luton Town started very quick coming out of half time, and after four minutes doubled their lead thanks to Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu’s effort from distance.

Joey Barton's side reacted well with some good play from James Husband as the left back managed to find space to run into, before forcing Shea to get down low to make a save.

The home side had another chance in the 68th minute when Ched Evans was able to hold the ball up before laying it off to Lewie Coyle, but the full-back’s effort from 20-yards went over the crossbar.

The visitors then had another dangerous opportunity to add to their tally following a Cod Army corner. The Hatters broke quickly, and Alan McCormack squared past Alex Cairns to Elliot Lee, but the substitute effort was blocked off the line by Town substitute Ash Hunter. A block that meant the game was still alive.

The hosts continued to look for their first goal and Evans came close after his effort was pushed out for a corner by Shea after a lovely pass from Hunter.

Eventually that goal for Fleetwood Town came, in the 90th minute, when substitute Ashley Nadesan knocked the ball down for Madden, with the Irishman scoring with a trademark first time finish.

Fleetwood Town were unable to upset the in-form league leaders who made it six wins on the bounce with a 2-1 victory at Highbury Stadium. Town will go again next weekend when they travel to Burton Albion.

Town XI: Cairns (GK), Husband, Eastham, Souttar, Coyle; Sowerby (Sheron 84’), R. Wallace (Hunter 75’), Holt (Nadesan 58’); Madden, Evans, Burns.

Subs not used: Jones (GK), Garner, Biggins, Morgan.

Luton Town XI: Shea (GK), Stacey, Bradley, Pearson, Justin; McCormack (Thorne82’), Ruddock, Shinnie, Moncur (Lee 68’); Hylton (Sheehan 86’), Collins.

Subs not used: Isted (GK), Potts, Cummings, Lualua

Attendance: 3,651

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