Fleetwood 4 Burton 0

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley
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Fleetwood Town gave a glimpse of things to come, ending a six game league losing streak in spectacular fashion.

A brace from Bobby Grant as well as goals from Jamie Proctor and Ash Hunter served up a stunning four goal victory over high-flying Burton Albion.

The early exchanges didn’t hint at the gulf of nearly a division between the two sides, Fleetwood giving as good as they got against a Brewers side still riding the wave of promotion.

Indeed there were chances for the hosts - albeit half ones as the teams, who last met on the hallowed turf of Wembley, went about the business of trading blows.

Bobby Grant showed the legs to get on a long ball swept out to the right channel, unable to beat the first man with Jamie Proctor lurking.

Town continued to show promise, pressing the ball at every opportunity, looking to switch play quickly.

It didn’t always pay off - a 50-yard pass which bounced over Grant’s head a sign there’s still a lot of work to do to make Fleetwood’s new style second nature.

But hard work on the counter did yield results.

A little tenacity around the Brewers box opened the door for Grant to go solo, his effort blocked but falling to Jimmy Ryan 20-yards out, his low drive the first real test for Jon McLaughlin in the Burton goal.

The Brewers keeper was called into action again when a defensive mix-up handed Fleetwood a freebie corner, Nick Haughton’s scuffed cross hinting at a training ground routine, an outstretched leg in the crowd stabbing the ball goalward, only for the keeper to pounce low to his left.

At the other end it was Matty Palmer carving out most of the visitors’ best chances from set pieces.

Chris Maxwell had a worrying moment when Stuart Beavon broke unhindered into the box, smashing into the side netting.

And there was a brief shaking of nerves when Richard Wood was called into action to head a Palmer free kick over his own bar.

But all in all Town seemed up to the task of handling the Brewers threat, offering enough themselves to hold the attention.

There was an ebb and flow to the game, both teams refusing to give up ground, yield possession. The battle was over every blade.

Sometimes it got a little too physical, Fleetwood allowing their new-found fighting spirit to overflow.

Conor McLaughlin was booked for a clumsy challenge out wide, Antoni Sarcevic also picking up a yellow as Brewers skipper John Mousinho was left with a bloody nose.

Town too were still prone to the odd suicidal mistake, Amari’i Bell and Antoni Sarcevic both culprits in the first half, selling each other short in front of their own box, allowing Burton the change to build sustained pressure.

They nearly made the most of a purple patch just before the break, Town struggling to contain the visitors who moved the ball with speed around the edge of the box.

When Palmer smashed the woodwork it looked like the writing might be on the wall.

But the hosts’ response was superb, a blistering break, the ball swept out to Grant whose first touch in the best part of 20 minutes was inpired, racing down the Fleetwood right, driving a cross low past the penalty spot, McLaughlin beaten, Proctor storming in to give Town the lead.

Given a hard-working but slightly uncertain display it was a little more than Fleetwood might have deserved.

But a half time lead is not to be sniffed at after six consecutive league defeats.

The script did, however, seem to be written for the next 45 minutes - Burton turning the screw, Town putting every ounce into hanging on.

Callum Butcher looked like he might have levelled matters just minutes after the restart, a squirming, low effort from 15 yards held by Chris Maxwell.

The assault on the Fleetwood box continued - Town soaking up what they could and looking for an opportunity to counter.

It eventually came - Grant and Haughton sweeping through the middle, a deflected Jamie Proctor shot running behind, allowing Town time to catch their breath and rebuild.

The next break was more effective - Ryan picking out the run of Proctor who made good ground down the right, pulling the ball back for Grant.

He needed no invitation, taking a step or two and picking his spot, shooting across the floundering McLaughlin, the ball creeping into the far corner.

Town, as with their victory over Shrewsbury, were discovering long lost reserves of confidence - pressing higher and higher.

And it paid dividends, Proctor forcing a mistake at the heart of the Brewers defence, Grant racing clear, taking time to set himself up and curling a superb finish straight into the top corner.

Town were suddenly an irresistible force, defender Richard Wood even getting in on the act as he found himself with space to run on the edge of the box.

Conor McLaughlin, pushing up from right back kept the move alive, Ash Hunter nipping in and attempting an audacious overhead kick which flew narrowly past the upright.

Hunter wasn’t to be denied, adding number four in another slick move.

Sub Jamille Matt hadn’t touched the ball when he breezed past Damien McCrory, squaring for Hunter whose first effort was stopped on the line, a second stab making it a fantastic four.