Fleetwood Town were penned back right at the death by visitors Exeter City as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Highbury.
It was a brilliant afternoon for Jack Marriott as he led the line for the Cods and managed to pick up a brace along the way, even though goals from Kevin McDonald and Pierce Sweeney meant the points would have to be shared in the end.
The first chance of the game came just after 60 seconds a cross came in from the left wing for the visitors, which found the head of Josh Key at the back post, whose effort was cleverly saved by Jay Lynch – the keeper was called into action again a minute later to stop Jay Stansfield’s low shot.
It was Town’s time to take control of the game as Shaun Rooney was unlucky not to convert a slick move started by Josh Earl before Fleetwood’s right-back picked out Marriott on the edge of the box and he saw his driven effort go just wide of the mark at the quarter-hour mark.
In the 19th minute, the deadlock was broken by Scott Brown’s side as a good pass found him 20-yards out and with all the work to do, he dribbled past his marker and placed the ball straight into the bottom-left corner of the goal past Jamal Blackman.
Just 10 minutes later, the game was brought back to level terms as a corner kick was played short to Archie Collins, who lobbed a pass towards the back post, which was played back across the face of goal to McDonald as he passed it into the net from inside the six-yard area.
Scott Brown’s lads went into the break back in the lead and it was Marriott who found the back of the net once again. It was incredible pace shown by Harvey Macadam to make the chance as he stormed past his marker, and played a low cross to the forward, who was able to just tap home.
With the first chance of the second half, some controversy came over Highbury as Jayden Stockley rose highest to meet Phoenix Patterson’s corner and nod it into the back of the net, but to the bemusement of everyone in the stadium, the goal was disallowed for an unknown reason.
Town’s number nine carried on his aerial dominance soon after as in the 65th minute, he got on the end of another Patterson ball into the box, but this time, his effort went the wrong side of the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
Another big chance came with 14 minutes to go as Macadam did well to play Stockley through and even though his shot was going off target, it was almost a calamity moment for the visitors as Pierce Sweeney was inches off putting the ball into the back of his own net.
With Sweeney then pulling off a last-ditch block to prevent Marriott from getting his hat-trick for the afternoon, he ended up making a difference down the other end of the pitch as he managed to convert a set-piece in added time to make the game 2-2, meaning the points would be shared.
Town XI: Lynch (GK), Wiredu (Johnston 53’), Vela (C), Stockley, Marriott, Warrington, Holgate, Patterson (Batty 83’), Rooney (Ndaba 60’), Macadam (Hayes 83’), Earl.
Unused subs: McMullan (GK), D.Johnson, Quitirna.
Exeter XI: Blackman (GK), Hartridge, Mitchell (Chauke 90+2’), Collins, Stansfield (Sparkes 72’), Nombe, Key, Aimson (C), Kite (White 46’), Sweeney, McDonald (Scott 66’).
Unused subs: Lee (GK), Harper, Grounds.