Fleetwood 3 Plymouth 3: Town rescue point with stunning late fightback

Fleetwood stunned Plymouth with two late strikes to earn a draw in a Fylde coast thriller.

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The hosts looked dead and buried when they trailed 3-1 in the 89th minute but up stepped Ellis Harrison and substitute Anthony Pilkington to earn Town a thrilling point.

Argyle saw their chance to move back into the top six slip away as Town provided the most unlikely of dramatic finishes after the hosts had been second-best for the majority of the second half.

Fleetwood celebrate Anthony Pilkington's dramatic equaliser

Ahead of kick-off on a bitter evening at Highbury, Town boss Stephen Crainey opted to make a couple of changes to his starting XI following the weekend defeat at Charlton.

The most eye-catching was a first start for defender Toto Nsiala’s first start since his recent capture, while Callum Johnson was also given the nod at the back.

Dropping to the bench were Tom Clarke and Cian Hayes.

Once the action got under way, both sides took time to sound each other out in what proved to be a rather cagey opening spell.

Town created the first meaningful opportunity in the 14th minute. Carl Johnston switched the ball across to Paddy Lane and he fired in a low drive, which Argyle keeper Michael Cooper gathered at the second attempt.

Minutes later Cooper was called upon again, this time to palm away a superb trademark free-kick from skipper Danny Andrew.

It was arguably against the run of play when Argyle struck the opener in the 20th minute.

Jordan Garrick pulled a low cross back into the path of Luke Jephcott and he smashed his ninth goal of the season clinically into the roof of the net from six yards.

The scores were level four minutes later. Lane bagged the leveller brilliantly, lashing home from 20 yards left-footed following a neat touch through from Johnston.

Town almost turned the game on its head soon when centre-back Zak Jules’ flick from Callum Camps’ cross was again expertly saved by Cooper.

As Town continued to impress heading towards the break, Lane lashed in another strike from the edge of the box but Cooper saved comfortably this time.

Lane hit another angled effort into the side-netting as Town ended the first period on top.

The second half began disastrously for Town. Just four minutes had passed when Argyle skipper Joe Edwards rose easily to head home Conor Grant’s outswinging cross.

Jay Matete forced Cooper into a decent save as Town sought another quickfire response, then the woodwork came to Argyle’s rescue.

Jules saw a powerful header from Dan Batty’s pinpoint cross strike a post.

Matete then cracked in another effort as Town pressed hard for an equaliser.

However, back came impressive Argyle and they grabbed a third goal 15 minutes from time when sub Niall Ennis coolly converted Garrick’s measured through-ball.

Harrison’s tidy headed finish from Andrew’s cross late on handed Town hope with time running ou.

And then Pilkington, who came off the bench to score the winner against Rotherham 10 days earlier, nodded home after Andrew’s corner wasn’t cleared to send the home fans wild in the 92nd minute.

Town are now two points clear of the bottom four .... what a finish.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Johnson, Nsiala, Jules, Andrew, Matete (Pilkington, 80), Batty (Hayes, 66), Camps, Lane, Harrison, Johnston (Morris, 80). Subs not used: Crellin, Clarke, Biggins, MacAdam.

Plymouth: Cooper, Wilson, Scarr, Gillesphey (Critchlow, 51), Edwards, Camara (Lewis, 83), Randell, Broom, Grant, Jephcott (Ennis, 71), Garrick. Subs not used: Burton, Bolton, Law, Jenkins-Davies.

Referee: Marc Edwards.

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