Fleetwood Town’s eight month unbeaten home run came to end on Saturday as league leaders Ipswich Town won 1-0 at Highbury.
Kayden Jackson’s follow-up strike from Luke Garbutt’s second half free-kick was the difference in a very fought battle between two of the early pacesetters in League One.
The Cod Army went close right at the death as substitute Ashley Hunter’s header was almost turned home by Ched Evans, but it wasn’t to be as Ipswich held out.
In a game where Fleetwood started brightly, there was minimal clear-cut chances at the start of the match for either side.
Wes Burns headed off target from a corner, with Lewie Coyle seeing his shot blocked wide for a corner inside the opening ten minutes.
Joey Barton’s defence looked solid despite the Tractor Boys creating a few chances, but when former Everton youngster Garbutt broke the back line, he drove a shot just past the far post.
With less than ten minutes until half-time, the visitors had a another chance. Again Garbutt was involved, delivering a cross for James Norwood, but the striker headed over.
Pressure was on the hosts, but when Josh Morris found himself running forward - capitalising from a mistake by the defender, Cole Skuse brought down his man inside the final third, resulting in the referee showing Skuse a yellow card for the cynical foul.
The crowd at Highbury did not have to wait long for the first chance after the break. After an error from Jimmy Dunne, Norwood was one-on-one with Alex Cairns, with the striker failing to hit the target. A golden chance missed inside the opening 60 seconds of the second period.
With James Wilson booked for fouling Burns, Fleetwood had the next chance with a Morris ready to deliver from a dead ball situation. The ball was fizzed into the danger zone of the Ipswich penalty box, with Luke Chambers only able to flick it out for a Town corner.
Moments later, a mistake at the back allowed Jackson to break clear on the counter attack. The visiting striker opted to pass rather that shoot, with Jordan Rossiter able to clear the danger to safety. A let off for the Cod Army.
Just before the hour mark, the visitors went ahead through Jackson. Garbutt’s free-kick was initially saved by Cairns, but Jackson was there to fire home the rebound at the near post.
The home side did not give up and continued to pile men forward at every given opportunity in search for the equalising goal, and nearly did when the ball fell to Harry Souttar, whose effort was cleared away.
Paddy Madden was introduced into the fray and when he linked up with Evans, the former Sheffield United man thought he had levelled the scoring, but his volley went agonizingly wide of the inside of the post.
The Ipswich goal brought the temperature of the game up, with both sides going full throttle. Gwion Edwards added to that after he left a late challenge on Paul Coutts on the far side, Danny Andrew was booked for involvement in the aftermath of the challenge along with Edwards.
Hunter was brought on with twenty minutes to go for Kyle Dempsey and nearly made an instant impact. After the ball was knocked towards the far post, Hunter headed the ball back across goal for Evans, unfortunately for Evans and Town, he was unable to turn it goal bound.
The visitors had a chance in the closing stages to finish off the contest from the spot as Dunne brought down Jackson, but Jackson fired his penalty wide.
The contest ended with some late drama as Town had the chance to equalise with Madden having a golden opportunity to turn and shoot, but the striker was just unable to connect with his effort which was eventually cleared.
Defender James Wilson was sent off for the visitors for a second yellow card after a challenge on Madden.
Plenty of positives for Joey Barton and his side as they now head into a break with the Sunderland game being called off due to the international break.
This means Fleetwood’s next fixture will be at home against Burton Albion on Saturday 19th October.
Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Andrew, Souttar, Burns, Dempsey (Hunter 77), Evans, Morris (Madden 59), Dunne, Coutts (C), Rossiter
Unused Subs: Gilks (GK), Clarke, Hunter, Biggins, Sowerby, Sheron
Ipswich XI: Holy (GK), Chambers (C), Wilson, Skuse, Jackson (Huws 90+2), Norwood (Rowe 68), Nolan, Downes, Vincent-Young (Edwards 45), Woolfenden, Garbutt.
Unused Subs: Norris (GK), Judge, Dozzell, Georgiou.
Attendance: 4,312 (1,086)