Fleetwood Town 3 Crewe Alexandra 0: Second-half goals give Cod Army three points
Second-half goals from Callum Johnson, Danny Andrew and Ged Garner cut down Crewe at Highbury as Fleetwood Town put their injury worries behind them with a terrific victory.
A frustrating hour of dominance was ended by Johnson’s powerful header from Dan Batty’s cross to open the scoring.
Andrew, who had hit the post with a free-kick just before half-time, scored his fourth dead-ball goal of the season before Garner wrapped up matters in added time.
Though Fleetwood were well rested, having had 10 days to recuperate after their Papa John’s Trophy win at Barrow, Simon Grayson’s injury problems had hardly eased.
The Town boss found himself without Jordan Rossiter and Tom Clarke but they still made most of the early running against a Crewe side who began the day third-bottom of League One.
James Hill was unlucky to send an eighth minute header over the bar from Andrew’s corner before the Cod Army were almost given a helping hand by their visitors.
Luke Offord’s hefty clearance crashed into Scott Robertson and almost rebounded into Will Jaaskelainen’s goal.
The resulting corner only served to frustrate Fleetwood further as Batty sent the ball to Andrew, whose fierce shot was parried by Jaaskelainen before he got back on his feet in time to stop Callum Camps’ follow-up.
Ryan Edmondson thought he’d found a way past the Finn when Camps picked him out at close range but the keeper reacted brilliantly to tip the ball over.
Crewe had come to Highbury on the back of three consecutive draws in the league and looked short of creativity going forward.
Reduced to shots from distance, they failed to really trouble Town’s stand-in skipper, Alex Cairns, as Rio Adebisi, Callum McFadzean, Robertson and J’Neil Bennett all sent efforts off target.
They were fortunate to go in at the break still level as Fleetwood hit the post with virtually the last kick of the half.
Andrew was upended by Scott Kashket 25 yards from goal and, after finding the net with three superb free-kicks already this season, there was only one candidate to take charge.
His strike was almost inch-perfect, clearing the wall and dipping beautifully but the ball crashed against the frame of the goal and was hacked to safety.
They hit the post again three minutes into the second half as Batty’s teasing ball had everyone beaten, only to come back off the upright.
However, with an hour on the clock, Johnson stepped up to the plate.
Batty’s corner – Town’s eighth of the match – was well flighted and the defender thumped a header past Jaaskelainen.
Moments later, an ugly flare-up saw four players booked as Andrew took exception to McFadzean’s challenge.
Their altercation escalated with Batty and Robertson also seeing yellow for their part in the melee.
Andrew then doubled Town’s lead with 18 minutes left to play, firing home a free-kick from a similar position to his first-half effort.
It was no more than he, and the Cod Army, had deserved and if McFadzean had scored with the visitors’ best chance of the game on 86 minutes – Cairns finally being forced into a save – it would have been somewhat unjust.
Garner then completed Crewe’s miserable afternoon in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Substitute Callum Morton raced down the right flank and sent a delightful pass into the striker’s path, and he made no mistake at point-blank range.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Johnson, Hill, Andrew, Biggins, Batty (McLaughlin 88), Camps, Matete, Clark (Lane 69), G Garner, Edmondson (Morton 79). Subs not used: Crellin, J Garner, Conn-Clarke, Johnston.
Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen, Adebisi, Offord, Thomas, McFadzean, Robertson, Murphy (Gomes 76), Finney, Kashkent (Long 46), Porter (Mandron 71), Bennett. Subs not used: Richards, Ramsay, Lundstram, Daniels.
Referee: Marc Edwards.
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