Accrington Stanley 5 Fleetwood Town 1: Heavy defeat extends 10-man Town's winless run
Ten-man Fleetwood Town slid to a thumping defeat as they were punished severely by Accrington Stanley.
Despite seeing Dan Batty sent off in the first half, Town produced no lack of effort but are now without a victory in their last 11 games.
Interim boss Stephen Crainey made two changes to the side which drew at AFC Wimbledon in their previous League One fixture.
Teenager Cian Hayes was handed his first league start, with Shayden Morris having to be content with a place on the bench.
Elsewhere, Conor McLaughlin was drafted in at the heart of the defence in place of the injured Harrison Holgate.
Once the action got underway, it was Stanley who made the early running with Ethan Hamilton getting a close-range header away after an almighty scramble in the Town six-yard box.
At the other end, youngster Hayes was predictably lively and saw a strike blocked after a mazy run towards the heart of the Stanley defence.
Town’s cause took something of a nosedive in the 23rd minute when they were reduced to 10 men.
Batty slid in rather crudely on Stanley right-back Harvey Rodgers and referee Tom Nield sent off the Town midfielder.
A formation change ensued but, within minutes, Stanley struck when Colby Bishop teed up Hamilton for a routine sidefooted finish.
Town’s prospects looked grim at that point but they stuck to their task and Paddy Lane controlled well before steering a 20-yard drive inches off target.
Callum Morton also fired over at the end of an enterprising move down the right-hand side.
Town could have been level at the interval but McLaughlin volleyed Danny Andrew’s free-kick just over.
However, all of their encouraging work before half-time was undone when Stanley scored again within 60 seconds of the restart.
Sean McConville was the provider, playing a ball over the top for Bishop, who steadied himself before beating Alex Cairns from 12 yards.
The 10 men halved their deficit 11 minutes later as another decent move down the left culminated with Morton squaring for Harrison Biggins, who could not miss from 10 yards.
Town continued to probe but their deficit was extended to two goals again with 18 minutes left.
There were protests from the Town contingent as a potential foul in the build-up went unseen just before substitute Liam Coyle drilled clinically into the corner.
There were no complaints after Stanley’s fourth goal six minutes later, Bishop slotting in his second of the game as he met Rodgers’ low cross into the six-yard box.
Hamilton then added his second in stoppage time as more questionable defending saw him left unmarked to complete the scoring.
Accrington Stanley: Savin, Amankwah, Sykes, Nottingham (Malcolm 88), Rodgers, Hamilton, Conneely, Pell (O’Sullivan 85), McConville, Mumbongo (Coyle 68), Bishop. Subs not used: Trafford, Procter, Mansell, Nolan.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Johnson (Morris 75), McLaughlin, Clarke, Andrew, Lane (Conn-Clarke 75), Batty, Matete, Morton, Garner (Biggins 26), Hayes. Subs not used: Crellin, Boyle, Johnston, Bird.
Referee: Tom Nield.
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