A late goal from Barrie McKay sees Fleetwood Town pick up all three points against AFC Wimbledon on Easter Monday at Plough Lane.
It was a scrappy affair for much of the game in South London, but a defensive error put the hosts’ goalkeeper under pressure just two minutes from the end, which substitute Mckay pounced upon, meaning Town would end up winners on the cold afternoon.
The game started slowly as the hosts had most of the possession in the early stages. Fleetwood’s defence did well to soak that up and even managed to create the first attack of the game as Wes Burns’ strike from distance was pushed out by Nikola Tzanev - Ged Garner couldn’t poach onto the loose ball within the box - and AFC Wimbledon cleared their lines.
The game was then played in the middle of the park for a while, with the next chance coming just before the half-hour mark as the Cod Army started to move their way up the gears, advancing forward with the ball in what was their best period of the game in a hope they could have taken advantage of their resolute defending so far.
Just before the end of the first half, Burns had another chance that tested Tzanev, this time from a free-kick on the edge of the box which the ‘keeper punched away.
The Cod Army’s dominance late on in the first half was nearly rewarded as again Burns struck the ball sweetly from the right, but Tzanev matched the effort and despite Callum Connolly’s best efforts to guide the loose ball goal-bound, nothing came from that attack.
The opening ten minutes of the second period were identical to the opening ten of the first, both sides hustling the other on the ball, but no test for either ‘keeper.
Just over the hour mark, the game started to open up as both sides went searching for the opener, neither ‘keeper was tested too much, but Janoi Donacien’s inviting ball into the Dons’ penalty area intended for Kyle Vassell was claimed by Tzanev.
With 20 minutes to go, substitute McKay drove forward with the ball, he looked to get a cross into the box, but his effort was blocked for a corner- the corner was taken short, and a short routine was worked between Danny Andrew and McKay, it was pushed to Sam Finley whose effort from 20-yards flew over the bar.
Kyle Vassell’s drilled effort from 12 yards was pushed out for a corner by Tzanev within the final nine minutes, a corner resulted from the chance, but McKay’s corner was punched away from danger from Tzanev again.
With just two minutes to go, the deadlock was broken in the Cod Army’s favour as McKay pounced on Tzanev’s heavy touch and the ricochet bounced off the Fleetwood man into the back of the net.
Despite Wimbledon’s best efforts to get back into the game, Fleetwood’s defence stood firm within the six minutes additional time which ensured McKay’s goal was the all-important difference which meant the Cod Army took all three points and a clean sheet back up north.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew, Connolly (C), Burns, Camps, Rossiter, Vassell, Batty (61’ Finley), Garner (61’ McKay), Holgate (65’ Donacien), Hill.
Subs not used: Coleman (GK), Saunders, Biggins, Baggley.
Dons XI: Tzanev (GK), Nightingale, Alexander, Oksanen, Assal (90 Robinson), Guinness-Walker, Heneghan (C), Dobson, Longman (81’ Chislett), Pigott (67’ Palmer).
Subs not used: Cox (GK), O’Neill, Palmer, Currie, Kalambayi.