Burton 5 Fleetwood 2: Town punished in Pirelli goal-fest

In-form Burton proved too strong for Fleetwood and look destined to end their campaign on a real high.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 9:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 9:20 pm

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In-form Burton proved too strong for Fleetwood and look destined to end their campaign on a real high.

The Brewers were looking doomed to the drop at the midway point in the season, but since Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink took over as boss in January it’s been a different story.

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Jordan Rossiter scored Fleetwood's second at the Pirelli Stadium

Town, meanwhile, continued what has been a frustratingly inconsistent season, with what turned into a comprehensive defeat in their final midweek match of the campaign.

There were no surprises pre-match, when it emerged that Town boss Simon Grayson had stuck with the same starting XI for the trip to the Pirelli Stadium.

Grayson stated that the weekend’s victory at Doncaster was the best performance he’d presided over since joining the club, so the only tweak came among the substitutes, where Wes Burns was back from injury.

Anyone watching either in the stadium or at home may have been expecting a rather low-tempo start to the game given that both teams now had little to play for except pride this term, but that was far from the case.

It was a fast-paced opening from Town, and within minutes Callum Camps had seen a crisp 18-yard strike deflected narrowly over the top.

Hasselbaink was very vocal on the touchline from the off, and little wonder as the visitors looked comfortable.

Joe Powell cracked a free-kick just off-target for the Brewers, then skipper John Brayford scuffed a close-range chance and the hosts were finally beginning to find their feet.

When Burton opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break, it was probably deserved on balance of play.

It was a super strike from Lucas Akins, which flew past Alex Cairns, but the lead-up to it will disappoint Grayson.

Terry Taylor comfortably robbed Sam Finley in the midfield. The loose ball fell to Akins and he curled home exquisitely from almost 25 yards.

Worse was to follow four minutes later, when a needless foul from Jordan Rossiter just outside the Town box was punished by Powell.

He stepped up and superbly curled the free-kick home, in off the post.

As if the first half hadn’t ended badly enough, Camps then went off in added time with what looked like a painful shoulder injury.

Sub Burns looked particularly determined in the early stages of the second period, and he made a surging run before fizzing in an effort which flicked off defender Josh Earl before drifting wide.

Grayson had clearly done his best to rally his troops during the interva and that reaped some reward in the 62nd minute.

After a swift break, Kyle Vassell crossed in perfectly for an unmarked Sam Finley and he coolly rounded Kieran O’Hara before slotting into an empty net.

It was ‘game on’ again at the Pirelli, but Town’s good work was almost undone soon after when skipper Callum Connolly inadvertently flicked Danny Rowe’s cross against his own post, with Cairns well beaten.

The Brewers did wrap up their win with 18 minutes left, when Tom Hamer converted sub Jonny Smith’s cross before fellow sub Kane Hemmings’ late solo effort added the gloss.

Rossiter’s stoppage-time finish from close range proved a mere consolation for Town, though Connolly went on to head against the crossbar with seconds left.

There was still time for Hemmings to add a fifth for the rampant Brewers with the final kick.

This third defeat in four games sees Fleetwood slip back to 15th with two to play.

Burton: O'Hara, Hamer, Carter, Brayford, Earl, Taylor (Gilligan 86), Clare, Powell (Hemmings 70), Edwards, Rowe (Smith 70), Akins; Subs not used: Broom, O'Toole, Gilligan, Fondop-Talom.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Donacien, Hill, Connolly, Andrew, Finley, Rossiter, Biggins (Garner 45), Camps (Burns 45), Vassell, McKay; Subs not used: Coleman, Whelan, Sheron, Baggley, Feeney.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Burton: O'Hara, Hamer, Carter, Brayford, Earl, Taylor (Gilligan 86), Clare, Powell (Hemmings 70), Edwards, Rowe (Smith 70), Akins; Subs not used: Broom, O'Toole, Gilligan, Fondop-Talom.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Donacien, Hill, Connolly, Andrew, Finley, Rossiter, Biggins (Garner 45), Camps (Burns 45), Vassell, McKay; Subs not used: Coleman, Whelan, Sheron, Baggley, Feeney.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

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