Fleetwood Town left it late to keep their unbeaten home record going after a 2-1 victory over Rochdale in the Sky Bet League One fixture at Highbury.
Fleetwood came back from behind as the visitors grabbed the first goal of the afternoon in the eighth minute through Rekeil Pyke’s finish from six yards. The equaliser came through Danny Andrew, as the full back was able to finish a low cross from Wes Burns!
It was a frustrating second half for Fleetwood as Rochdale continued to sit back and try to soak up the pressure from Town, However, in the 87th minute, a brilliant cross from Ash Hunter was guided into the net by Ched Evans.
Joey Barton made three changes to the starting eleven that drew 3-3 with Southend last Saturday. Matt Gilks was dropped to the bench, meaning that Alex Cairns returned in between the sticks. Whilst Harry Souttar came back in the starting eleven after featuring off the bench against Southend following the international break. The third and final change saw Evans enter the frame, replacing Paddy Madden.
Fleetwood Town got the game underway and began very brightly, causing issues for the Rochdale defence, in the first 5 minutes. The Cod Army forced a corner, and shortly after Danny Andrew had the chance to open the scoring.
The full-back found himself in space on the left, before cutting inside to unleash a curling effort but the shot was just wide of the post.
The visitors however open the scoring after Luke Matheson’s header at the back post was able to find Rekeil Pyke - who was able to turn and slot past Alex Cairns from six yards.
Fleetwood reacted well and almost found an equaliser when Josh Morris was picked out on the edge of the box, before the winger hit a low-driven shot at goal but Robert Sanchez smothered the ball with ease.
It was end-to-end stuff on a sunny afternoon on the Fylde Coast, with Rochdale this time creating a dangerous chance inside the box, which was hit over the crossbar by Ian Henderson.
The Dale continued to take chances at the back and eventually were punished. Wes Burns, on his 100th league appearance for Fleetwood, was able to tee-up Andrew with a low cross into the box, before the left-back’s effort hit the back of the net – taking his goal tally to two for the season.
Since the equaliser, Fleetwood Town found themselves in control of the game – dominating the ball and creating many chances. The latest being Kyle Dempsey’s effort from outside the box that sailed over the bar.
Rochdale’s end to the first half was a big contrast to how they began, the visitors were sitting very deep with a lot of men behind the ball – allowing Town to further dictate the game, looking for the clinical pass through the numerous bodies.
The start to the second half was more reserved with both teams taking time to grow into it.
The first chance in the second half fell to Morris, who was able to turn and fire a shot at goal, which forced Sanchez to make a brilliant diving save.
Fleetwood finally got their foot on the game and were constantly pressurising the Dale defenders. Jordan Rossiter capitalised on a loose ball in midfield and was driving towards goal before brought down by a nasty foul. Andrew’s resulting free kick didn’t trouble the Rochdale keeper.
Substitute Ash Hunter made an immediate impact, and after he received the ball on the left, he whipped in a dangerous cross that was just wide of the far post, and ever so close to a clinical touch from Evans.
The Cod Army finally got the goal they deserved. A spectacular cross from the left by Hunter was met by the head of Evans, who guided it into the bottom corner of Sanchez’s net. A wonderful move capped off by a brilliant goal.
Fleetwood Town remain unbeaten at home since February following Saturday's 2-1 win against a well-drilled Rochdale side.
Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Souttar, Dunne, Andrew, Rossiter, Coutts (C), Dempsey (Madden 61’), Burns (Mooney 82’), Evans, Morris (Hunter 72’).
Unused Subs: Gilks (GK), Clarke, Biggins, Sheron.
Rochdale XI: Sanchez (GK), Norrington-Davies, McNulty, O’Connell (Ryan 18’), Dooley, Williams, Camps, Pyke (Morley 49’), Rathebone, Henderson (C), Matheson.
Unused Subs: Lynch (GK), Andrew, Keohane, Wilbraham, Tavares.
Attendance: 3,229 (650)