Fleetwood Town started the year with a 1-0 win on the road as they managed to beat Doncaster Rovers at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The deciding goal in the game was scored by debutant Ellis Harrison, who signed for the club just hours before naming the line-up ahead of the game, as he poked home Paddy Lane’s low-driven cross from the right – finishing off the perfect opening day for the forward.
It was a quiet start to the game with the ball spending most of the opening minutes in the centre of the park, with both teams battling it out for possession.
In the 17th minute, Callum Camps threaded the ball through to Cian Hayes who found himself one of one with Pontus Dahlberg, but the Doncaster goalkeeper stood up tall and pulled off a smart save with his feet.
Minutes later, Danny Andrew came close to opening the scoring when his 20-yard free-kick forced the Rovers stopper into a diving save.
Soon after, the Town left-back was at the heart of the action once again when his curling set-piece almost picked out Tom Clarke at the back post – although it was just a little high for his defensive colleague.
After a neat exchange with Callum Johnson, Lane beat Branden Horton before crossing the ball towards new signing Harrison, but Dahlberg read it well and intercepted.
Doncaster looked to take the lead just before the break when Jordy Hiwula found space inside the Cod Army penalty area. However, his headed effort was wayward and didn’t trouble goalkeeper Alex Cairns.
As the first half came to a close, Lane found Harrison with an enticing ball into the box. His powerful header could only find the gloves of Dahlberg.
Town started the second half brightly as Hayes managed to get past his man on the left before crossing into a crowded area, but a defender just about got in the way before Harrison could his head on it.
Soon after, Dan Batty tried his luck from the edge of the area. He was unlucky as he saw his effort tipped over the bar.
On the 50-minute mark, Fleetwood’s effort electric start reaped its rewards when Harrison put his side ahead. Lane was at the centre of the move and it was his low, driven cross that Town’s new loan signing poked home to score on his debut.
Doncaster responded immediately when Tommy Rowe met Horton’s in-swinging cross. Cairns wasn’t troubled by the skipper’s effort which was off target.
Hayes’ first-time cross found the run of goal scorer Harrison whose header flew just over the crossbar whilst slightly off balance. Not long after, Andrew unleashed a curling effort from the edge of the area which for a moment, looked like it was creeping into the top right corner.
Rovers pushed for an equaliser when substitute Joe Dodoo found space 20 yards from goal. He let the ball bounce before striking it on the half volley, but his effort soared just wide of the post.
Cairns made a brilliant save just before the final whistle to keep the one-goal lead after a strike from 12-yards stung the palms of the goalkeeper from Doncaster.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew (C), Clarke, Harrison (Pilkington 64’), Camps, Batty (Boyle 90+5'), C.Johnson, Biggins, Lane, Johnston, Hayes (Morris 90’).
Unused subs: Crellin (GK), Baggley, Conn-Clarke, Bird.
Doncaster XI: Dahlberg (GK), Knoyle, Olowu, Williams, Bogle, Rowe (C), Smith, Barlow (Dodoo 64’), Hiwula (Seaman 73'), Galbraith, Horton (Cukar 87').
Unused subs: Jones (GK), Greaves, Hasani, Blythe.
Attendance: 5648 (246 away)