Fleetwood Town were left frustrated on Saturday as Oxford United came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Highbury Stadium.
First half goals from Wes Burns and Paddy Madden were cancelled out by second half strikes from Jamie Mackie and James Henry, in what was truly a game of two halves.
Fleetwood went 1-0 up after 8 minutes thanks to Burns and were two goals up at half-time thanks to Madden’s strike after a great counter attack. The visitors came out the blocks in the second half almost like a different team and managed to rescue a point.
Burns got Fleetwood off to the best possible start after he calmly slotted past Simon Eastwood to put Town in front within the first ten minutes. That puts Welsh attacker now with six goals in the league for the Cod Army.
Oxford were not overwhelmed by the early goal and instead came out with a spell of consecutive attacks, none of which troubled Alex Cairns in between the sticks for Town.
The first 20 minutes of the game was very open with both sides having spells of possession, but the visitors struggled to cause any danger going forwards. However, the Cod Army continued catching The U’s out on the counter attack which led to Jamie Hanson being booked after a cynical tackle on Burns.
Town took advantage of Oxford’s high defensive line with a clinical counter attack. Madden carried the ball through the middle of the park, before finding Ashley Nadesan who returned the favour, teeing up a first-time finish for the Irishman, to make it 2-0.
That was Madden’s 15th goal of the season in all competitions, with Nadesan being directly involved in a goal on his full debut for the club.
Burns continued to be a nuisance for Oxford, especially for Eastwood, after finding himself in space and taking the shot on but this time he hit it wide of the goal, from 30-yards-out. Town kept making chances and four minutes later, in the 36th minute, Lewie Coyle picked out Madden with his pull-back but the Irishman’s shot was scuffed wide.
Oxford got their first shot of the game two minutes later, but Marcus Browne’s attempt was over the bar. The U’s got another chance on the brink of half time after Gavin Whyte was allowed to shoot following a corner but Town weren’t troubled and were able to clear the danger.
The visitors continued on from their energetic end to the first half and in the 52nd minute capitalised on a midfield error, with James Henry finishing off a low cross to the near post.
Nadesan had another chance, on his impressive return, driving into the box to force a low save from Eastwood. Two minutes later and the forward was involved once again after he pounced onto Coyle’s low cross, but his effort was pushed past the post.
The yellows eventually found the equaliser they were looking for, in the 64th minute, after substitute Jamie Mackie fired past Cairns from close range.
Momentum was with the visitors now but the game remained to be open, although Oxford continued to pressure Town’s defence but Henry’s shot on goal was blocked.
That result is Fleetwood Town’s eight draw of the campaign and takes the Cod Army to 10th in Sky Bet League One.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Eastham, Morgan (C), Husband, Burns, Holt (Sheron 89’), J. Wallace, R. Wallace (Biggins 88’), Madden, Nadesan (Hunter 77’).
Subs: Jones (GK), McAleny, Marney, Biggins, Sheron, Hill.
Oxford XI: Eastwood (GK), Dickie, Nelson, Hanson (Long 52’), Brannagan, Browne (Mackie 46’), Ruffels, Mousinho, Whyte, Henry, Graham.
Subs: Stevens (GK), Norman, Garbutt, Raglan, Sykes.