Fleetwood 2 Notts County 1

Nick Haughton
Nick Haughton
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Ten-man Fleetwood Town clung on to keep their play-off hopes alive with a battling victory over Notts County.

Graham Alexander’s men didn’t make matters easy for themselves, falling behind to a tenth minute Garry Thompson strike.

Matters could have got a whole lot worse when Chris Maxwell spilled another long ball punted into the box - the Magpies’ trademark move - first Jeff Hughes and then Conor McLaughlin with timely blocks - the second on the line to deny Blair Adams.

Fleetwood seemed to have lost the momemtum when they hauled themselves level.

And it was the exciting combination of Antoni Sarcevic and Nick Haughton who did the damage.

Haughton picked out Sarcevic’s angled run into the right channel, Town’s Wembley hero drilling a low cross into the County box which Liam McAlinden calmly swept home.

Fleetwood’s strikers have been far from prolific but were on form against the Magpies, David Ball grabbing a heartening second - his first since a long injury lay off.

Haughton was again the creator, a superb jinking run taking him to the byline, the youngster pulling the ball back across the face for Ball to tap in.

Town looked totally in control until Curtis Thompson tumbled under an innocuous challenge for Stephen Crainey.

The left back was already in the book and was handed his marching orders by David Webb - Town forced to see out the last 20 minutes a man down.

The Magpies, predictably threw the kitchen sink at it, Chris Maxwell pulling off two superb reaction saves to preserve the lead - five minutes of added time making for a nervous but thrilling finale.

But Town saw out the win to stay in the chase for a top six spot.

And boss Graham Alexander was a delighted man.

He said: “I’m so chuffed because we went a goal down again to a great strike from the lad.

“It was tough but the two goals we scored were very well worked.

“We had to see the game out with ten men for a long period but I thought the attitude was absolutely 100 per cent.

“It was brilliant to see.

“That last 20 minutes showed the other side you have to take into football.

“It all about heart and the other part of your anatomy.”