Fleetwood Town 2 Ipswich Town 0: Grayson's men turn on style to stretch unbeaten run to six
Fleetwood turned in arguably their best performance under Simon Grayson as they eased to an eye-catching win against play-off chasers Ipswich.
The visitors were distinctly second best as Town extended their unbeaten run to six games and could still threaten a late play-off tilt themselves.
What may be most pleasing for Grayson, however, was a fourth consecutive clean sheet as his defence looked rock-solid again.
Town had performed resolutely at the weekend against Blackpool, so it was little surprise that boss Grayson had made just the one, enforced change to his starting XI.
Janoi Donacien was ineligible to feature against his parent club Ipswich, so he was replaced by Harrison Holgate.
Wes Burns was switched to the right wing-back role for the hosts, with Holgate taking his place in the three-man defence alongside the in-form James Hill and skipper Callum Connolly.
There was no Paddy Madden, of course. The former Town striker was making his debut for Stockport County as a substitute in their National League win over Barnet.
After an opening nine minutes which saw both sides sizing each other up, the deadlock was broken by Grayson’s in-form side.
It was a straightforward strike and one which Grayson’s opposite number Paul Cook won’t have been too impressed with, as Connolly rose highest to head home Hill’s long throw from the right.
Town had a spring in their step now and Sam Finley charged forward menacingly before dragging a 20-yard shot narrowly off-target.
As the hosts kept the pressure on the Tractor Boys’ defence, Ged Garner found space before seeing an effort deflected off-target.
Ipswich were struggling to grab a foothold in the game as the quarter-point approached, but they finally threatened when Connolly had to get in the way of a piledriver from Myles Kenlock.
Kayden Jackson was next to go close as he flicked Gwion Edwards’ low cross into the side-netting from a very acute angle.
Ipswich, with four wins from their previous six games, were beginning to test the hosts’ back line.
There was a terrific tempo to the game, and shortly before the interval Garner’s neat volley from Kyle Vassell’s measured cross was expertly saved at his near post by Tomas Holy.
Town threatened first after the restart. The impressive Dan Batty swung in a smart free-kick only for Vassell to head onto the roof of the net.
Vassell then latched on to Garner’s through-ball before firing a disappointing effort over the top from 15 yards.
Town got the second goal they had been threatening in the 57th minute.
Again Vassell and Garner combined superbly before the latter lashed home left-footed from 18 yards.
Town now had the extra security of that second goal but cool heads were still very much needed with half an hour remaining.
Vassell almost extended the lead in the later stages, while at the other end Alex Cairns produced a super point-blank stop to deny Ipswich sub Stephen Ward.
This had been Fleetwood’s night, though, and they were not to be denied a worthy victory, which lifted them into 11th place, above Blackpool on goal difference and five points outside the top six.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Holgate, Burns, Finley (J Morris, 85), Rossiter (Biggins, 78), Batty, Andrew, Vassell, Garner (Saunders, 90); Subs not used: Coleman, Duffy, Rydel, S Morris.
Ipswich: Holy, Chambers, Wilson, Kenlock (Ward, 66), Nsiala, Edwards (Harrop, 46), Skuse (Bishop, 81), Judge, Parrott (Lankester, 66)), Jackson (Drinan, 66), Dozzell; Subs not used: Cornell, Bennetts.
Referee: Gavin Ward