Fleetwood Town 2 Plymouth Argyle 1: Late strike hands Cod Army a first win of the season

Supersub Joe Garner was Fleetwood Town’s hero as his dramatic late strike secured his side their first win of the League One season.

Garner, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes, was on hand to slam home a rebound with two minutes left on the clock to see off the visitors to Highbury.

Fellow sub Cian Hayes fired in an initial strike from an acute angle but, after keeper Michael Cooper could only parry the effort, Garner was perfectly placed to convert the loose ball from six yards to send the home supporters wild.

Town’s first home game of the season saw changes made by head coach Scott Brown.

Fleetwood Town's players and fans celebrate their late winner against Plymouth Argyle Picture: Adam Gee.

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Not featuring were Shayden Morris, following his switch to Aberdeen, while Promise Omochere was absent after suffering a fractured eye socket at Port Vale on the opening day.

Harrison Holgate and Carl Johnston dropped to the bench, though Shaun Rooney stepped up to make his debut.

Josh Earl was handed a first start, while also returning to the starting XI were Ellis Harrison and Callum Morton.

Argyle boss Stephen Schumacher named an unchanged team following their win against Barnsley a week earlier.

On a glorious afternoon, it was Town who carved out the first opening early on.

Rooney whipped in a smart cross for Harrison, whose scuffed effort from close range was competently saved by Cooper.

Skipper Josh Vela also saw an effort blocked as Town began much the brighter of the two teams.

It was probably against the run of play, then, when Argyle struck in the 23rd minute.

Toto Nsiala clumsily tripped Bali Mumba in the box, leaving Ryan Hardie to coolly convert from the penalty spot as he beat Jay Lynch.

Five minutes later, however, Town were deservedly level.

Dan Batty scored his – and the club’s – second goal of the campaign, drilling home an angled strike following Rooney’s neat through pass.

An entertaining contest saw Argyle next to threaten when Matt Butcher forced a fine stop from Lynch.

Visiting skipper Joe Edwards also headed narrowly off target as Plymouth ended the first period on top.

Argyle maintained their impressive momentum after the restart, with Finn Azaz twisting and turning before firing in a drive which Lynch saved well.

There was no lack of effort or endeavour from Brown’s men, but their passes weren’t quite sticking as the hour mark approached.

Danny Andrew tried his luck with a 25-yard free-kick but the ball went into the side-netting.

At the other end, Mumba forced another decent stop out of Lynch as the game was still very much up for grabs.

Goalscorer Batty was next to threaten for Town when he volleyed off target, while Argyle then had luck on their side when Edwards volleyed Rooney’s sharp cross against his own post when attempting to clear.

That mattered little in the end, as sub Garner popped up to gleefully bag Town’s late winner.

Fleetwood Town: Lynch, Rooney (Johnston 81), Nsiala, Andrew, Earl, Batty (G Garner 90), Morton (Hayes 81), Vela, Wiredu (White 74), Harrison (J Garner 81), Lane. Subs not used: Cairns, Holgate.

Plymouth Argyle: Cooper, Gillesphey, Wilson, Scarr, Butcher, Edwards, Hardie (Ennis 80), Mumba (Houghton 74), Randell, Mayor, Azaz (Whittaker 63). Subs not used: Burton, Lonwijk, Galloway, Jephcott.

Referee: Robert Lewis.

Attendance: 3,713.