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Report: Fleetwood come out on top to win five goal thriller against Cheltenham

21 August 2021

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Fleetwood Town won their first game of the season on Saturday afternoon as they managed to beat Cheltenham Town 3-2 at Highbury.

The away side opened the scoring in the tie through a Callum Wright strike, but it was Fleetwood who worked their way back into the game after Tom Clarke headed in an equaliser and Darnell Johnson scoring to put the Cods into the lead. This was until Alfie May struck late to make the game, with Shayden Morris finding the back of the net with seconds to go secure the win.

The first chance of the game fell to Fleetwood as Anthony Pilkington provided a tricky run before playing the ball to Harrison Biggins on the edge of the box and was then pushed out wide to Ryan Edmondson, but his cross was collected by the Cheltenham goalkeeper.

Two minutes later, the away side opened the scoring as Liam Sercombe found Wright with a through ball, with the striker composing himself and slotting the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.

Another attack followed in the 13th minute as full-back Sean Long managed to keep the ball in, hitting a looped cross to Sercombe 15-yards out, but his header was easily collected by Alex Cairns.

Danny Andrew stung the palms of the opposition goalkeeper soon after, as he latched onto Pilkington’s free-kick and struck a volley on target, troubling Scott Flinders.

The Cods started to come into the game around the half-hour mark as Edmondson somehow made his way through the away backline, before playing a low-cross towards Biggins, who couldn’t quite get his toe onto it to convert.

Seconds later, Fleetwood did draw the game level from an Andrew corner kick as he lobbed the ball in towards defender Clarke who rose highest and nodded it into the bottom-right.

The game was evenly matched until the half-time break after that chance, with the only other effort being Cheltenham’s Charlie Raglan trying his luck from close range, forcing a save out of Cairns.

Simon Grayson’s side almost took the lead at the start of the second half as Edmondson flicked the ball over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net but was unfortunately flagged offside.

On the hour mark, two gilt-edged chances were made by Fleetwood. The first being a Shayden Morris effort from the right, which forced a save out of Flinders, and Biggins striking from close range soon after, with another save needed.

Darnell Johnson almost scored seconds later as a corner was played into a packed Cheltenham box and with the goalkeeper not able to get to the ball, it left the defender to jump up and, unfortunately, head it again the crossbar.

With ten minutes to go, Fleetwood took the lead, and it was Johnson who poked it home. It was a bundle inside the opposition’s box, with Morton having the first effort of the cluster of chances, forcing Flinders into a save before Johnson was able to poke home the deflection and give The Cods the lead.

May drew the game level again with five minutes to go, but it was a Morris strike with seconds to go from 15-yards that secured the win for Simon Grayson’s side.

Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew, Clarke, Johnson, Camps (Batty 73’), Pilkington (Garner 79’), Rossiter (C), Edmondson (Morton 62’), Holgate, Morris, Biggins.

Subs not used: Crellin (GK), Matete, Hill, Clark.

Robins XI: Flinders (GK), Long, Hussey, Tozer (C), Raglan (Blair 85’), Thomas, Sercombe (Perry 75’), May, Williams (Lloyd 46’), Boyle, Wright.

Subs not used: Evans (GK), Freestone, Chapman, Bonds.

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