Fleetwood Town slipped to a 1-0 defeat to in-form Scunthorpe United at Highbury on a wet Saturday afternoon.
Fleetwood created many chances in the first half and had spells of dominance, with the best chance of the half coming to Ashley Nadesan who fired his shot just past the post from a tight angle.
This narrative continued into the second half, with the Cod Army continuing to make chances. Unfortunately, Ashley Eastham deflected substitute Levi Sutton’s low cross into the roof of the net to give the visitors the points, despite them not having a shot on target.
The game began in a scrappy manner as a result of both teams getting used to the weather conditions, on a very grey day in Fleetwood. It was the visitors who started quicker though, winning a corner inside the opening two minutes but it was cleared with ease by Town defenders.
The hosts soon got to grips with the conditions and created a brilliant opportunity, after Ross Wallace found Jason Holt with a lovely chipped through ball. However Iron keeper Jak Alnwick, on loan from Rangers, was out quick to save Holt’s attempt from inside the area.
Alnwick was in action again, just two minutes later in the 15th minute, as the keeper was off his line quickly to deny a Fleetwood forward a possible opportunity from Ched Evans’ through ball.
James Husband gave away a free-kick close to the touchline, eight minutes later, which was swung in by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson leading to a stunning save from Alex Cairns to deny Paddy Madden’s attempted clearance from going in.
The game remained quite open however Town seemed to be on top, creating more chances than the visitors. Ross Wallace troubled Alnwick with a strike from distance, in the 34th minute, but the loanee managed to push it round the post.
Nadesan, still looking for his first Fleetwood Town goal, was found through a long ball from Husband. The forward had time to get the ball under control and drive at goal, but his shot was just wide from a tight angle.
The Cod Army came out of the break with a chance of an early goal but Cameron Burgess cut out Holt’s pull-back to deny Madden a shot on goal.
Two minutes into the second half and Town had their second chance, as Nadesan latched onto a stray pass before getting a shot off at goal from a tight angle but Alnwick was there at the rescue for Scunthorpe.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was predominantly all Fleetwood, with Town having another two chances in short succession. Ross Wallace’s free-kick was parried away by Alnwick after it bounced awkwardly in front of him. Then just two minutes later Alnwick pulled out a top save to deny Madden his 17th goal of the season.
The Irons’ first chance of the half came in the 62nd minute after Funso Ojo struck one with venom but it glided past Cairns’ post and out for a goal kick. Seven minutes later and Ross Wallace had another chance for Fleetwood but the effort is just wide of the post, similar to Ojo’s.
Scunthorpe scored in the 74th minute, against the run of play, as Eastham deflected substitute Sutton’s dangerous low cross past Cairns.
Ross Wallace and Wes Burns combined well down the right, allowing Burns to hit a low cross into a dangerous position but Alnwick got down well to smother it. James Wallace picked out Evans with a great ball over the top, nine minutes later, but the strikers’ effort was straight at Alnwick.
The Cod Army suffered their first league defeat of 2019, and will look to bounce back at home to Charlton Athletic next Saturday.
Fleetwood Town XI: Cairns (GK); Burns, Morgan, Eastham, Husband; Holt (Hunter 67’), J Wallace, R Wallace; Nadesan (McAleny 80’), Evans, Madden.
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Taylor, Biggins, Sheron, Garner.
Scunthorpe XI: Alnwick (GK), Borthwick-Jackson (McGahey 33’), Burgess, McArdle, McMahon; Perch, Ojo, Thomas, Hammill (Sutton 72’); Wootton, Novak.
Subs: Flatt (GK), Webster, Lund, Van Veen, Lewis.