First-half Evans goal gives Fleetwood the win
Town face an uphill task to get in the Play-Offs after the homesickness struck again.
Ched Evans’ first-half goal gave Fleetwood a first ever win against Blues to leave Town six points adrift of the Play-Offs.
Jon Nolan and Tyreece Simpson were both denied by ‘keeper Alex Cairns in the second-half as Town searched for a lifeline but the visitors held on.
Cole Skuse and Emyr Huws missed out through injury, Brett McGavin coming in for his League debut for Blues, Andre Dozzell returning to the line-up as Paul Lambert made six changes to the side that went down at Blackpool at the weekend.
Alan Judge forced a corner following a slick pass from Dozzell, ‘keeper Alex Cairns off his line to pluck Dozzell’s cross off Will Keane’s head, then Barrie McKay had a shot blocked at the other end after good link up play by the visitors.
Paddy Madden smashed a right footer wide, former Town loanee Callum Connolly forced off with a nose injury in the game’s first change, with Evans the replacement.
Luke Chambers found Judge with a 50 yard crossfield pass, the Republic of Ireland international sending in a delivery that had too much on it for Keane, Chambers then diverting McKay’s cross to safety via the outside of the post as Fleetwood found space down the left.
From the first effort at goal from either side on 40 minutes the visitors broke the deadlock, Evans getting on the end of McKay’s pass and sliding a left footer past Tomas Holy.
The Town ‘keeper gathered from Wes Burns’ cross, Town responding with Janoi Donacien making in-roads into the Fleetwood box after Dozzell released him, Harry Souttar in the right place to clear.
Keane couldn’t get his shot in inside the box after McGavin and Dozzell had linked up as Fleetwood took their lead into the break.
Freddie Sears replaced McGavin at half-time and the striker was immediately in the action, his shot deflected over then his persistence won a free-kick down the left that Luke Garbutt swung in but Paul Coutts cleared the danger.
Sears’ arrival gave Town more of an attacking purpose, Lewie Coyle testing Holy for the visitors, Josh Earl diverting Burns’ cross behind as Fleetwood threatened a second.
Simpson replaced Keane on the hour and the 18-year-old immediately won a free-kick. Judge swung in the delivery and following a scramble Nolan forced an excellent save from Cairns.
Holy held on from McKay’s strike, the wide player making way for Jack Sowerby, with Teddy Bishop on for Nolan in Town’s final change.
Cairns held on from Sears’ cross, the ‘keeper then flying to his right to deny Simpson a first goal for the Club as Blues searched for an equaliser.
Holy joined the attack in added on time for a corner and almost got his head on the delivery, with Judge firing over in Town’s last effort at goal.
Town: Holy, Donacien, Chambers, Earl, Wilson, Garbutt, McGavin (Sears 46), Nolan (Bishop 74), Dozzell, Judge, Keane (Simpson 60). Subs not used: Norris, Edwards, Woolfenden, Dobra. Booked: Chambers.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Andrew, Connolly (Evans 15), Souttar, Burns, Whelan, Coutts (Thorvaldsson 83), Madden, Gibson, McKay (Sowerby 72). Subs not used: Crellin, Morris, Saunders, Holgate. Booked: Madden.