Fleetwood Town finished off a spirited performance against league leaders Rotherham United at Highbury Stadium, beating them in a thrilling 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
Substitute Anthony Pilkington was the difference maker between the two sides as he poked home from close range in the final few minutes of injury time to make it two wins on the bounce for Town, and also six points taken from a possible six against Rotherham this season.
Less than two minutes in Cian Hayes played a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Callum Camps to send the midfielder through on goal. Town’s number 10 tried to send the Rotherham keeper the wrong way, but Joshua Vickers’ trailing leg just kept the ball out.
From the resulting corner, taken by Danny Andrew, Camps was the man in focus once again as he connected cleanly with a volley that went wide of the mark.
Fleetwood started the game the better side and, on the front foot. Tom Clarke was the next player in a red and white strip to test the keeper, but after doing the hard work to reach Dan Batty’s lofted free-kick into the area, the centre half’s header was too soft to trouble Vickers.
Camps tried his luck for the third time, this time from a bit further out, but his strike lacked direction and it was easily collected by Rotherham’s number 31.
For the first time of the afternoon Rotherham got in behind the Fleetwood defence through Grigg, the striker tried squaring it, virtually across the goal line, but none of his teammates were in support.
Grigg controlled the ball well, that was fired into him, inside the 18-yard box with his back to goal and he managed to spin and get a shot away, that looked to be heading on target but due to Clarke’s superb block, it went behind for a corner.
Rotherham enjoyed a spell of possession around the half-hour mark, as once again, Grigg was involved. He managed to get on the end of an incoming cross and directed it towards goal, but Alex Cairns calmly dealt with it.
Rotherham’s number nine was proving to be a real threat in the first half, as this time, from a well-worked free-kick Chiedozie Ogbene cut it back from the by-line and the striker tried to chest it into the back of the net from close range, but it went inches wide of the post.
Grigg was getting closer and closer to opening the scoring, as this time his header from inside the six-yard box hit the bar, and then his rebound was cleared off the line by the crowd of Town bodies defending their goal.
Just a couple of minutes later, Harrison came just as close. The visitor’s keeper cleared an incoming ball, but it ended up coming to Camps who headed it back into the box for the January signing as he looked to make it two in two but his header just didn’t quite dip enough to go under the bar.
As half-time was looming, Cairns was called upon to make a huge save. Ogbene jumped higher than the rest to reach the cross, but his header was kept out brilliantly from Cairns as he had to be at full stretch to keep the scores level.
The first time either goalkeeper had to do anything in the second half was after an hour had been played. Joshua Kayode won the ball just inside Town’s half and drove towards goal. His long-range effort was easily collected by Fleetwood’s number one.
Clarke came so close to giving the hosts the lead but his header, which had Vickers panicking, went inches over the bar. A few minutes later Lane tried his luck from distance with a well-struck shot that wasn’t too far away from hitting the target.
A rapid counter-attack saw Lane and Pilkington in a two vs two situation, the former was the man bearing down on goal with the ball at his feet and he tried to play in his teammate but Dan Barlaser made a terrific last-ditch interception to deny Pilkington any opportunity.
When for all the world it looked like it was ending as a goalless draw, Pilkington stepped up and latched onto the end of Toto Nsiala’s header and tapped it home from close range late, late into injury time.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew (C), Jules, Clarke, Harrison, Camps (Matete 85’), Batty, Johnson, Lane, Johnston (Nsiala 46’), Hayes (Pilkington 67’)
Subs: Crellin (GK) Morris, Boyle, McMillan
Rotherham XI: Vickers (GK), Barslaser, Wood (C), Wiles, Grigg (Kayode 46’), Ogbene, Ferguson, Rathbone, Ihiekwe, Edmonds-Green, Smith
Subs: Johansson (GK), Harding, Mattock, Ladapo, Lindsay, Odoffin