Fleetwood Town fell to a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday in their final home game of the season at Highbury Stadium on Tuesday evening.
An action-packed first half saw Town go 1-0 down to their visitors, through Lee Gregory, but two great goals from Callum Camps and Joe Garner put Fleetwood in the lead before the break.
Two goals in less than a minute from Gregory completed his hat-trick in a second-half comeback from the Owls which Town had no answer for.
The first chance of the game fell to Wednesday’s Gregory who had to work the chance for himself with a first touch that took him around his man, and he was able to place it just inside the near post to give the away side an early lead.
Fleetwood were struggling to get a hold of the game in the opening 10 minutes, with George Byers the next man to try his luck, but the Owls’ number 14 sliced his volley wide.
The visitors were enjoying the majority of the ball, but Town were making it difficult to break them down again, as Gregory attempted to double his tally for the evening, but his effort was cleared by Zak Jules before it could reach the goal.
Thanks to some hard work and determination from Cian Hayes, he won the ball back inside the final third and tried cutting it back to Garner but it was cleared before the striker could reach it. However, it was only cleared as far as Camps who drilled the ball into the bottom right corner, which Peacock-Farrell could do nothing about.
After their equaliser, Town started to dictate the game more and gained some control, Dan Batty was the next man in a red and white shirt to have an effort on goal but his attempt was blocked by the Cods’ first goalscorer.
It wasn’t long until Fleetwood took the lead, and it was the hero against AFC Wimbledon who did it again. Batty’s pinpoint cross from a free-kick laid it on a plate for Garner to produce a bullet header into the top right corner.
A few minutes later, Wednesday tried to find an equaliser themselves and they nearly found it. A chip from Bannan that came back off the post caused chaos inside the six-yard box as the ball took several blocks on the goal line, before once again hitting the woodwork and eventually going out for a goal kick.
It was a tough start to the second half as Jules’ shirt was ripped from the collar, Hayes needed treatment, Batty and Bannan got into a little tussle whilst Andrew and Hutchinson both received yellow cards for a similar event.
The game didn’t calm down towards the hour mark as Gregory pulled out of a stamp on Camps and then moments later, Massimo Luongo did catch the midfielder and went into the book for doing so.
The first real chance of the second half came with 25 minutes to go. Gregory brought down an overhit cross which gave Bannan the chance to cut inside and get his tame shot off which was easy for Cairns to collect.
Town were doing all they could do to hold off the second-half wave of pressure from Wednesday, but they couldn’t stop Gregory from claiming a hat trick. The #9 headed into the back of the net for the equaliser and then 30 seconds later from the kick-off, he scored his third from distance, directing it into the bottom left corner.
Despite Town’s best efforts to get back into the game, they couldn’t create anything to level the scoreline in the final stages of the game.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew (C), Jules (Harrop 86’), Clarke, Camps, Garner, Batty (Pilkington 76’), Nsiala, Boyle, Hayes, Macadam
Subs not used: O’Hara (GK), Butterworth, Biggins, Baggley, Bird
Owls XI: Peakcock-Farrell (GK), Palmer, Hutchinson, Gregory (Dunkley 89’), Bannan (C), Paterson, Byers (Mendez-Laing 62’), Johnson (Windass 62’), Luongo, Hunt, Storey
Subs not used: Wildsmith (GK), Gibson, Kamberi, Berahino