Harry Souttar’s first goal for Fleetwood Town secured all three points at Accrington Stanley on Saturday afternoon.
Souttar’s 50th minute header from Ross Wallace’s in-swinging corner sealed the points in a feisty Lancashire derby at the Wham Stadium.
Sean McConville had Accrington’s best chance of the game in the second half, but he blazed off allowing Alex Cairns to keep his 15th league clean sheet of the season.
Joey Barton’s side started well in East Lancashire, with Wes Burns threatening early on. The wing-back found space on the right, allowing him to knock the ball past Janoi Donacien before unleashing a powerful strike that was just wide of the target.
Town came even closer just minutes later after Ched Evans headed James Husband’s brilliant cross goal bound, but Dimitar Evtimov was there to keep it out.
Barton was forced into making an early substitution after midfielder, Jason Holt was stretched off following a challenge he made with Sam Finley. Nathan Sheron being the man who was brought on.
Fleetwood continued to be on top, and this time it was Jack Sowerby who had the chance to find the opener. Some great play between Evans and Burns allowed the latter to deliver a lovely ball into the box but Sowerby couldn’t get his header on target.
Accrington finally got their first chance of the game, in the 20th minute, as Sean McConville headed into the side netting, after Harvey Rodgers picked him out from the wing.
11 minutes later and Accrington have the ball in the back of the net, however it was disallowed after Billy Kee was penalised for a push on Lewie Coyle.
A little spell for Accrington in the closing ten minutes of the first half as McConville’s free-kick reaches Sykes but Cairns got down low and smothers the ball into his chest.
Town came out the blocks faster in the second half looking for that opener and that’s exactly what they found. Wallace’s corner found Souttar who headed home for his first Fleetwood Town goal, putting the visitors a goal up. A superb header.
The home side reacted very well and began to put pressure on Fleetwood’s defence. McConville went close, once again, after his shot was just wide from inside the area – a let off for Fleetwood.
The home side kept the pressure up for a short period, but it wasn’t long before the Cod Army got back into the game. Burns again at the heart of it, as he brushed past one man before slipping Ross Wallace through, but the attack came to nothing.
It became end-to-end towards the latter stages of the second half and it was Accrington who created their best chance of the game so far. McConville was found at the back post, unmarked, but he fired his shot over the bar. A huge chance for the home side to equalise…
Ashley Nadesan had the chance to seal the game off, in the 79th minute, after Evans managed to flick the ball on to play him through, but the substitute couldn’t finish it off and only forced Evtimov into a crucial save.
A professional performance from Joey Barton’s men means that the Cod Army take all three points back to Highbury with them.
Accrington XI: Evtimov, Hughes, Donacien, McConville, Finley, Sykes, Rodgers (Johnson 83’), Conneely (Barlaser 77’), Kee, Smyth, Armstrong (Sousa 73’).
Subs not used: Maxted, Richards-Everton, Brown, Simmonds.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Holt (Sheron 14’), Burns, Evans (c), Souttar, Madden, Wallace (Nadesan 69’), Husband, Sowerby, Rydel (Eastham 58’).
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Clarke, Hunter, Biggins.