TWO goals by Richard Brodie, one deep into added time, not only preserved Fleetwood Town’s unbeaten home record, but denied AFC Telford their first victory over Town since the Midland club re-formed in 2004.
After dominating the early stages of the game, Micky Mellon’s side conceded twice through defensive errors, but the late rally leaves them in fourth place in the Blue Square Bet Premier league.
Town were without Jamie Vardy and Jamie McGuire, the latter joining his team-mate on a three-match ban after the FA had viewed video evidence of Tuesday’s melee in the Kidderminster game.
Sean Clancy started for the first time this season, and Keith Briggs joined him in midfield for his first start since the Barrow game.
Town opened confidently and had an early chance.
Junior Brown made his first of many runs from deep and set up some slick interplay between Gareth Seddon, Andy Mangan and Magno Vieira, with the Brazilian forcing Ryan Young into a desperate save at the second attempt as the ball rolled agonisingly towards his goal line.
The attacking move set the tone for the first period of the game as Town’s repeatedly tested the Bucks defence.
Most of the threat came down the left with Brown outstanding and Clancy full of running on his return to the side.
Telford’s first chance came in the seventh minute, when Andy Brown moved in strongly to meet a cross from Sean Newton but Rob Atkinson was equal to the task.
Clancy then had a shot deflected for a corner in the 14th minute and Town began to switch play to the right, with Mangan seeing more of the ball.
Telford’s Chris Sharp, scorer in midweek, brought a good diving save from Scott Davies after 22 minutes, while Town continued to create scoring opportunities at the other end, Briggs firing wide on two occasions.
Telford boss Andy Sinton had talked of his side’s never-say-die attitude in the days leading up to the match, and it was in evidence as they not only survived the initial onslaught but came more into the game towards half time.
A dangerous move down the left earned the Bucks a corner and, from it, the ball was headed back to skipper Shane Killock, who headed past Davies in the 42nd minute for an opening goal that few had expected 30 minutes or so earlier.
Telford continued to push forward with Richard Davies keeping his name-sake, Scott, busy in Town’s goal on two occasions before the break.
Town started bri-ghtly after the interval with Shaun Beeley immediately involved as an attacking force.
Clancy released Vieira but the striker’s touch failed him at the crucial moment.
Clancy was then replaced by Brodie after 49 minutes as Town looked to get on terms.
However, it was the visitors who delighted their hundred or so fans in the Percy Ronson by going further ahead. The danger came from the right and the cross reached an unmarked Newton who slammed the ball past Davies.
Scott Brown came on for Beeley as Town tried to get back into the game.
This duly happened with a quarter of an hour left.
Jamie Milligan’s corner found Brodie’s head to force a reflex save from Young under his bar.
From the resulting corner, Milligan once again found his colleague, this time at the near post and Brodie’s header was too good for Young.
Town pushed on and dominated the final stages, although Telford nearly sealed the points with five minutes left when two substitutes combined.
Dwayne Samuels counter-attacked at speed and his cross just eluded Adam Proudlock as he lunged at the ball.
The game went into four minutes added time, with Town pushing forward.
Both Steve McNulty and Brodie received late bookings from referee Clark, but the latter’s frustration turned to joy with seconds left as he struck a shot firmly past Young to rescue his side in front of a crowd of 1686 and take his tally to three goals in two games.
The joy, and relief, around Highbury was clear to see.
Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley (Brown 63) McNulty, Atkinson, Clancy (Brodie, 50) Milligan, Briggs, Vieira, Mangan, Seddon, Cox (80)