Fleetwood 3 Bolton 0: Biggins double seals much-needed Town victory after duck stops play
Harrison Biggins’ late double sealed a memorable win for Fleetwood on a night when a duck stopped play at Highbury.
With Stephen Crainey’s side leading thanks to Ged Garner’s eighth-minute goal, Biggins stepped up at the double after 76 and 78 minutes to earn Town a first win in 12 games.
Victory was nothing more than the Cod Army deserved on a bizarre night which saw Biggins wreak havoc on the pitch and Storm Barra off it.
Having already halted play for a faulty floodlight and damage to the scoreboard, referee Seb Stocksbridge had to do the same for the duck’s brief appearance in first-half stoppage time.
Wanderers, 1-0 winners in the Papa John’s Trophy tie between the clubs a week earlier, finished with 10 men after Ricardo Santos’ 72nd-minute red card for bringing down Callum Morton.
Just four of Town’s starting line-up had taken the field at the University of Bolton Stadium a week earlier, including teenager Carl Johnston.
The Northern Ireland prospect was making his first league start, whereas keeper Alex Cairns was making a record- extending 218th EFL appearance for the Cod Army.
Wanderers, who enjoyed a Saturday off while Fleetwood were being hammered 5-1 at Accrington, started with nine of the team that progressed in the PJT.
To that total, manager Evatt added his giant captain Santos and Elias Kachunga
Kick-off marked the arrival of Storm Barra’s rainfall to go with the troublesome gale-force wind as two balls disappearing out of the ground and the floodlight issue in the first four minutes told their own story.
When Town did keep the ball on the pitch, Danny Andrew’s run and left-wing cross was converted by Garner from close range.
Targeting the right side of Bolton’s three-man defence was a noticeable tactic, particularly in the first half. Andrew also showed his defensive nous with a block to deny Liam Gordon.
More than 1,000 Bolton fans thought Eoin Doyle had equalised after 22 minutes but the former League Two top marksman was flagged offside after Cairns could only parry Johnston’s flick.
Referee Stocksbridge again halted proceedings to report weather damage to the scoreboard.
Cian Hayes’ 'damage’ on Afolayan resulted in the game’s first booking. But there was no penalty or yellow card when Garner twice went down under the challenge of Santos.
Then came Fleetwood’s glorious chance to double their advantage. Will Aimson’s mistake let in Morton but Joel Dixon came to Bolton’s recue.
Conor McLaughlin’s foul on Doyle brought another caution and presented Afolayan with a free-kick which the wall blocked.
Cairns then saved from Thomason and Town defended three successive corners before finishing the half with a flourish.
A superb passing movement saw Paddy Lane just fail to get on the end of Morton’s ctoss.
With the elements in their favour, Bolton went in regular search of an equaliser.
Just before the hour, Afolayan set up Doyle but Cairns produced another vital save. Fleetwood had further chances too and Garner fired wide
Fleetwood’s chances of a famous win increased 18 minutes from time, when Santos saw red for bringing down Morton on the edge of the area. Andrew fired the free-kick narrowly wide.
But it was game over 13 minutes from time as Biggins finished off a superb break by Morton , with an unselfish assist from Garner.
Biggins, who was also on target at Stanley three days earlier, wasn’t finished and jubilantly knocked in the third to seal a long-overdue win, which left Town a place higher in 21st and one point from safety.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Johnston, Clarke, McLaughlin, Andrew, Biggins, Matete (Boyle 90), Lane (Baggley 90), Hayes (Johnson 67), G Garner, Morton; Subs not used: Crellin, Morris, Clark, Conn-Clarke
Bolton: Dixon, Aimson (Amaechi 68), Santos, Johnston, Gordon, Thomason, Lee, John, Kachunga, Doyle (Baptiste 74), Afolayan; Subs not used: Gilks, Delfouneso, Tweedley, Conway, Pettifer.
Referee: S Stockbridge
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