Fleetwood’s run of scoring in every game ended in a less than cracking Christmas clash with Bury but every cloud has a silver lining and Fleetwood’s Christmas present was another clean sheet as they battled and scrapped to a 0-0 draw.
Fleetwood have been hit by a number of injuries in recent weeks but their opposition have been ravaged by them and were forced to field two 16-year-olds Jacob Bedau and Callum Styles and only named five substitutes after Niall Maher was pulled from the starting line-up just before kick-off.
On paper it looked like a nailed on three points for Uwe Rosler’s high-flying Fleetwood side but Bury pulled off a Christmas miracle having lost all eight of their last fixtures and having to field a patched up side but putting in a spirited performance to stop Town’s scoring run.
The visitors battled and scrapped their way to a point with Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns pulling off some fine saves with Victor Nirennold having an effort cleared off the line and a late George Gledon set-piece being tipped away at the other end.
Fleetwood striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway made his first league start of the season as Uwe Rosler made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Swindon.
Amadi-Holloway moved to the Fylde coast from Wycombe in the summer but due to injury and fitness levels he has had to wait for a starting spot in the league but only lasted 45 minutes before he was withdrawn at the break.
The forward started in the middle of a front three alongside Chris Long and David Ball as Rosler switched from 4-3-3 to 3-4-3 with Amadi-Holloway and Joe Davis in for Devante Cole and Ash Hunter.
Davis joined fellow centre halves Cian Bolger and Nathan Pond in a back three with wing-backs Conor McLaughlin and Amari’i Bell pushed up into wide midfield roles with Bobby Grant joining George Glendon in the middle of the park.
The first chance of the game fell to Fleetwood. Amadi-Holloway won the ball back thanks to some good pressing deep in Bury’s half and rolled the ball over from the right to Ball in the box who tamely fired straight at Lainton.
In the opening stages Bury put up a decent fight as they searched for an early goal to boost their confidence as they tried to stop their losing run but Fleetwood still looked incredibly dangerous on the counter as usual with some slick passing moves but no end product.
With Bury putting up a stern test Rosler opted to switch it up from 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 wing-back formation with Ball moving from a front three to a right midfield role and Bell and McLaughlin slotting into wing back roles just before the 20 minute mark.
Bury created some decent attacks in a scrappy first half but just lacked a composure and ability to finish with Pond, Davis and Bolger all standing up to the physical battle.
The visitors lack of clinical finishing was evident as the half drew to a close with dangerous 18-year-old forward George Miller sliding the ball to Burgess on the edge of the box who curled the ball miles over the bar with Pope also nodding Leigh’s left wing cross over at the back stick.
After a less than spectacular first half Rosler shook things up at the break taking Davis and Amadi-Holloway off for Victor Nirennold and Ash Hunter.
The German stuck with the 3-5-2 wing-back formation Town ended the half with as Hunter slotted in up front alongside Long, McLaughlin moved back into the right of the defensive three and Nirennold took on his right wing-back role.
Hunter made an immediate impact as he just smashed the ball wide of the left stick.
It was end-to-end in the second half with both teams going for the jugular. Just seconds after Cairns had tipped away Miller’s low angled shot from just outside the box Long sent the ball looping over the up other end.
Ball was tripped on the right wing deep in Bury’s half and Town nearly took the lead from the subsequent set-piece. Glendon stepped up to whip the ball into the mix, Hunter got half a head to it and the loose ball fell to Bolger but his strike flew into Lainton’s welcoming arms.
Fleetwood looked more likely to grab a late winner and Nirennold saw his header from a Glendon corner just cleared off the line by a black and green shirt.
But just because Town looked more of a creative attacking force did not mean the opposition were dead and buried with the score still locked at 0-0 and Miller nearly gave them a shock lead in the 83rd minute as he looked to latch onto a long ball into the box but Cairns was alert and raced off his line to make a fine instinctive save.
But Lainton was not to be outdone as he made an equally fine stop up the other end to stop Glendon’s dipping set-piece flying into the left corner after Cole had been impeded just outside the box.
Fleetwood launched a slick counter from a Bury corner but Hunter was chopped down mid sprint by Jacob Bedau who was booked for the late challenge.
But it ended all square with Fleetwood maintained their grip on eighth place and still have a chance of climbing into a play-off spot before the year ends.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Davis (Nirennold, 46), Pond, Bolger, McLaughlin, Glendon, Grant, Bell, Ball, Amadi-Holloway (Hunter, 46), Long (Cole, 69). Subs: Neal, Jonsson, Sowerby, Jakubiuak.
Bury: Lainton, Leigh, Etuhu, Kay, Pope, Soares, Burgess, Styles, Hope, Miller, Bedau. Subs: Williams, Mayor, Dudley, Walker, Cooney.
Referee: N Miller