Fleetwood Town 2-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 16th Mar 2021 21:45
Former Town loanee Callum Connolly and Ged Garner were on target as Fleetwood deservedly defeated the Blues 2-0 at the Highbury Stadium. Connolly nodded the opener in the ninth minute and Garner added the second with a low shot on 57 with Town, who are down to seventh, never looking like they would get anything from the game.
Cole Skuse made his first start of the season in place of Flynn Downes in an otherwise unchanged Town line-up.
Skuse, a sub at the weekend having been out since pre-season with a knee injury which required surgery, took up his usual central midfield role alongside Andre Dozzell, Downes having suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-0 home win against Plymouth on Saturday.
Kayden Jackson again started with James Norwood, who has been suffering with back spasms and was in court this morning, absent from the 18, while Josh Harrop returned to the bench.
Former Blues loanee Connolly skippered Fleetwood, while on-loan Blues defender Janoi Donacien was ineligible against his parent club and 11-goal top scorer Callum Camps missed out due to a hamstring injury.
The Blues got off to a bright start and in the fourth minute an Alan Judge ball played into the path of Jackson breaking towards the penalty area was just cut out by a Fleetwood boot.
However, it was the Cod Army who would take the lead from the game’s first chance. A long throw was sent in from the right by James Hill and ex-Town loan man Connolly was unchallenged as he was allowed to nod backwards and across Tomas Holy and into the corner of the net.
Fleetwood, buoyed by their goal, went close again in the 16th minute when Garner shot not too far wide of Holy’s right post from just outside the box.
Town were struggling to keep hold of the ball, giving it away cheaply all too often, and on 18 Holy was forced to rush off his line to clear ahead of Kyle Vassell as the home side continued to push for a second.
Hard-working Fleetwood continued to look the better side but on 32 Gwion Edwards got round the outside of his man on the right and sent in a low ball to the near post which Jackson turned into the side-netting.
A minute later, Danny Andrew took a quick free-kick from deep and Hill almost found himself in on goal but the ball beat him and ran behind.
Well-drilled Fleetwood continued to look the more threatening side and in the 43rd minute they went close again. Vassell did well on the right and Garner took a touch before flicking a low effort from the near post towards goal which somehow stuck between Holy’s feet. It was a lucky escape for the Blues.
During one minute of added on time the game was delayed after Edwards challenged Jordan Rossiter somewhat recklessly midway inside the Fleetwood half. The home players briefly called for a red card but referee Gavin Ward showed only a yellow.
The Welshman was the more badly hurt of the two and was off the field hobbling as the half was brought to an end.
A very poor 45 minutes from the Blues against a well-organised Fleetwood side who could and should have been more than a goal in front.
Aside from a positive opening couple of minutes, Town had toiled having struggled to keep possession and with Edwards’s cross for Jackson their only chance of the half. Manager Paul Cook had cut a frustrated figure on the touchline.
Town changes of personnel to give the display a lift would have been little surprise but in the end there was only the enforced switch of the injured Edwards for Harrop.
The Cod Army started the second half positively and threatened for the first time on 47 when Dan Batty sent over a free-kick from the left and Vassell looped it on to the roof of the net.
Three minutes later, Vassell shot over from just inside the area after a Fleetwood break after a Town attack had broken down.
Dozzell almost scored an own goal of the season contender in the 55th minute when he miscued Holy’s punch from a corner in completely the wrong direction and only just wide of the post.
Fleetwood only had to wait another two minutes for their second goal, however. Vassell fed Garner towards the edge of the area and the 22-year-old hit a low drive just inside the post.
The home side were well worth doubling their lead with the Blues having shown no signs of improvement since the break.
On 61 there was another scare for Town when Holy gifted the ball to Will Burns inside the area as he and James Wilson exchanged passes but fortunately for the Blues the Fleetwood man took it out of play.
The Cod Army had their tails well and truly up and three minutes later Burns was sent away one-on-one with Holy on the right of the box but the Blues keeper was out quickly to block. Moments later, the big Czech was in action again, saving above his head from Vassell.
Blues boss Cook made a triple change in the 67th minute with Stephen Ward, Jack Lankester and Aaron Drinan replacing Kenlock, Parrott and Judge with Harrop moving into the number 10 role.
On 67 an Andrew shot was diverted away from goal by Toto Nsiala, then three minutes later Vassell shot over.
Sub Ward managed Town’s first effort on target in the 71st minute, the Irishman exchanging passes with Judge and bringing the ball in from the left before hitting a shot which under-worked home keeper Alex Cairns palmed into the air and over. From the corner, Nsiala rose highest but nodded against a defender.
Holy was given little trouble by Batty’s shot from the edge of the box in the 75th minute but with Fleetwood continuing to look the better team and the more likely scorers of the game’s third goal.
In the 81st minute, Skuse was replaced by Bishop, Fleetwood having swapped Rossiter for Harrison Biggins a couple of minutes earlier and Batty having been booked for kicking the ball away.
On 82 Biggins hit a shot into Holy’s arms from distance, before the home side replaced Sam Finley with Josh Morris.
Judge shot not too far wide from distance in the 89th minute, then as the game moved into five additional minutes, Fleetwood’s second goalscorer Garner made way for Harvey Saunders.
Moments before the whistle, Dozzell forced Cairns into a save with a strike from distance and Nsiala’s header from the resultant corner was saved but a goal would have flattered Town.
A lacklustre evening virtually from start to finish from the Blues, who never looked like they would get anything out of the match. They were poor in possession until the latter stages when the game was already lost, created little and allowed the home side enough chances to have won very comfortably.
The home side always looked in control, deserved their win and really ought to have scored more than twice.
After the positivity following his first win against Plymouth on Saturday, another display which will give new boss Cook plenty to ponder.
The Blues, now a place and two points behind sixth-placed Charlton but with two games in hand on the Addicks, are next in action at Portsmouth on Saturday with another away game following seven days later at Wigan.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Andrew, Connolly (c), Burns, Rossiter (Biggins 79), Vassell, Finley (J Morris 85), Batty, Garner (Saunders 90), Holgate, Hill. Unused: Coleman, Duffy, Rydel, S Morris.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock (Ward 67), Dozzell, Skuse (Bishop 81), Edwards (Harrop 46), Parrott (Lankester 67), Judge, Jackson (Drinan 67). Unused: Cornell, Bennetts. Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey).
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