Fleetwood Town’s unbeaten home record was finally broken by table-topping Ipswich Town.
Kayden Jackson’s clinical finish in the second period proved the difference, though Joey Barton’s players gave it everything against an impressive side who are now four points clear at the summit.
There were no surprises from Cod Army boss Barton ahead of kick-off as he named an unchanged starting XI following the superb 3-0 win at Shrewsbury Town last time out.
The only alteration among the substitutes saw the recall of defender Nathan Sheron.
The hosts opened with plenty of vigour on a bright and breezy afternoon at the Highbury Stadium.
There was an early chance when Josh Morris only just failed to connect with Lewie Coyle’s precise through ball.
Coyle then took aim from 20 yards, but his powerful drive was blocked inadvertently by team-mate Ched Evans.
Barton’s outfit had started excellently and next to go close was Wes Burns, who headed Morris’ inswinging corner a couple of feet wide.
A packed house on all sides of the stadium was loving it, though it was the travelling faithful who were almost jumping for joy in the 23rd minute.
A sweeping crossfield ball from Kane Vincent-Young found the dangerous Luke Garbutt, who took the ball down expertly before drilling a low shot across goal and a whisker past the far post.
There was then a scare at the other end for Ipswich, with Vincent-Young almost sidefooting Coyle’s cross into his own net as he attempted to clear for a corner.
It was turning into a cagey affair between two sides on top of their collective games.
Visiting striker James Norwood probably ought to have done better when he headed over disappointingly from Garbutt’s teasing cross.
It had been an opening period packed with quality as you might expect, but it ended goalless.
Ipswich should have scored less than a minute after the restart.
Jackson played in Norwood, but the Tractor Boys’ front man was again guilty of a poor miss as he dragged a shot wide when one-on-one against Alex Cairns.
The hosts responded well and were swiftly back on the front foot themselves.
Kyle Dempsey fired in a terrific effort from 20 yards that was blocked bravely by James Wilson.
The deadlock was finally broken by Ipswich in the 58th minute.
Garbutt’s well-struck free-kick from 25 yards was only parried by Cairns and there was Jackson, perfectly placed to lash home the rebound from close range.
The away enclosure erupted, though they were almost silenced eight minutes later when Evans volleyed a foot wide as he met sub Paddy Madden’s measured knock-down.
It was now becoming increasingly animated on the rival benches but Ipswich appeared to be weathering the Cod Army’s mini-storm as they desperately chased a leveller.
Sub Ash Hunter then planted a free header wide with what proved to be his first touch.
Jackson went on to miss an 88th minute penalty after he’d been felled by Jimmy Dunne, while Ipswich defender Wilson was sent off in stoppage time after being shown a second yellow card.
The Cod Army had given it their best shot against an accomplished Ipswich side, but ultimately it just wasn’t enough.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Souttar, Dunne, Andrew, Burns, Morris (Madden 59), Rossiter, Coutts, Dempsey (Hunter 77), Evans 7. Subs not used: Gilks, Clarke, Biggins, Sowerby, Sheron.
Ipswich Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Chambers, Wilson, Vincent-Young (Edwards 46), Downes, Skuse, Garbutt, Nolan, Norwood (Rowe 71), Jackson (Huws 90). Subs not used: Norris, Judge, Dozzell, Georgiou.
Referee: Carl Boyeson.