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Match Reports

Report: Town make it five straight wins after victory over Portsmouth

22 February 2020

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Fleetwood Town make it five wins from their last five games after beating promotion challengers Portsmouth 1-0 at Highbury on Saturday afternoon.

Fleetwood started the game quicker than the visitors and had the ball in the back of the net after Callum Connelly nodded home from six yards out.

The Cod Army managed to see the game out for 72 minutes, with a brilliant defensive display and a fantastic showing of effort and work-rate, pushing the club into sixth place in Sky Bet League One.

In the opening stages of the game, both teams showed signs of intent, but neither were able to dominate possession. Although it was clear to see the quality and great form that either side possessed going into this game.

Joey Barton’s side grew into the game a lot faster and began to create some quality chances. The first real chance that Town created ended up in the back of the net, just 12 minutes into the game. 

Danny Andrew whipped a brilliant ball into the area, with Alex Bass could only palm it away to Connolly, who nodded it home, scoring in consecutive fixtures for the first time in Fleetwood colours.

It wasn’t long before the Cod Army threatened again and this time it was through Wes Burns after some wonderful build-up play. Harry Souttar won possession back in the middle of the park before driving forwards and picking out Barrie McKay with a great pass. The on-loan Swansea man managed to played an enticing through ball into the box for Burns, but the Welshman was unable to convert.

The visitors came close in the 18th minute when Ronan Curtis’ free-kick troubled Town’s defence. It as swung in high over everybody before dropping down onto the top of the crossbar. What an exciting opening to the game at Highbury.

Pompey had some set pieces to defend themselves, with Paul Coutts’ corner to the back post finding Souttar, but Christian Burgess was there to match the Australian international, putting it out for another corner. The second corner was lifted high into the box, with the wind getting under it, causing everyone problems – forcing Alex Bass – Portsmouth’s keeper - to punch it away high in the sky before eventually smothering it.

Fleetwood went in at half-time 1-0 up, and for the second match in a row, they managed to keep the visitors at bay for the first 45 minutes.

The conditions at Highbury didn’t changed one bit as the wind continued to cause lots of issues, with Fleetwood kicking into into the wind for the second half.

Even with the conditions, Town continued to cause problems. Burns was at the heart of it again when he found space in the middle of the park, just outside the 18-yard-box, to unleash a viscous shot at goal, but his effort was pushed wide by Bass.

Portsmouth began to control the game, forcing McKay into making a block resulting in a corner. The corner was then dealt with by Fleetwood, but only enough to concede another corner and the following one came much closer to troubling Town. Lewie Coyle had to be switched on to head the ball off the line to stop the visitors from grabbing the equaliser.

Coyle, again came up big in the area after a dangerous cross from the right found Seddon, who managed to get a shot away, but with the former Leeds United defender making a fantastic block to stop the ball from going any further. A brilliant defensive display from the Cod Army.

Josh Morris was introduced midway through the second half and came close twice late on in the match. Both attempts came from outside the box, with Bass scrambling across on both occasions, seeing the ball eventually go past his posts.

With five minutes added on, the players and the fans rallied together for one last push. With the referee blowing his whistle, it was a sigh of relief for Barton and his team as they picked up their fifth straight win against another promotion hopeful.

Fleetwood now sit in a play-off places, with a trip to fellow top six side Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Souttar, Gibson, Andrew, Burns, Coutts (c), Whelan, Connolly (Sowerby 81’), McKay (Morris 76’), Madden (Saunders 90’).

Subs not used: Crellin (GK), Thorvaldsson, Biggins, Holgate.

Portsmouth XI: Bass (GK), Naylor (c), Burgess, Marquis, Curtis, Bolton (McCrorie 57’), Harness, Raggett, Hawkins (Williams 57’) , McGeehan, Seddon.

Subs not used: MacGillvray (GK), Evans, Whatmough, Close, Haunstrup.

Attendance: 3,370 (747)


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