MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 0 Gillingham 2

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

The fog might have descended on Fleetwood's Highbury base but the mist could not mask over another miserable result for Uwe Rosler's side.

Town now have just one win from their last 12 league games and once again they were the architects of their own downfall with Rosler's side unable to bounce back from a second minute Gills goal with the stuffing well and truly knocked out of them as Christmas approaches by another effort in the 16th minute.

It was a combination of statuesque and poor marking by Baily Cargill and slack hands by shot-stopper Alex Cairns who looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders as he could only palm Josh Parker's effort into the net after the Gills man had made mincemeat of Cargill.

Once again it was the Achilles Heel of a failure to deal with crosses into the box but it was a body blow Town could never recover from despite courage, character and desire it fuelled a Gills resurgence with Steve Lovell's men still smarting after exiting the FA Cup to League Two side Carlisle in midweek.

If the Gills boss wanted a reaction he got one and when Luke O'Neill's curling effort squeezed past Cairns 14 minutes later it was an uphill battle for Rosler's side who now peer down below them thanks to that torrid league run.

Fleetwood Town boss Rosler made two changes for the clash.

Skipper Nathan Pond and striker Wes Burns moved to the bench with Baily Cargill and Jordy Hiwula recalled to the starting line-up.

Hiwula was straight in the action in the opening stages as Dempsey teed him up just outside the box but he was caught in two minds with Cole hovering to his left and his eventual strike was poor and rolled out for a goal kick.

Despite a bright start Town succumbed to the first ball into the box as Wagstaff's right wing centre found Parker who spun a static Baily Cargill to blast the ball past Cairns.

The shot-stopper was at fault for Peterborough's late winner in the 3-1 win and it was far from the start he and Town wanted in their bid to end a run that has seen them win just one league game in 11.

Cairns managed to get a hand to Parker's six-yard effort but the goal was due to the slack and statuesque defending of young Bournemouth loanee Cargill who failed to show his Premier League pedigree to gift the Gills an early sight of goal that they gobbled up.

Cole's solo run and shot into the side netting was a bright spark in a dim opening by Town as the Gills switched play from flank to flank with ease.

Buoyed by that early strike the visitors piled the pressure on a Town side lacking confidence due to their recent winless run and the Gills had the ball in the back of the net minutes later though the offside flag came to to Town's rescue after Cairns had palmed Clare's strike into the path of Eaves to bundle home.

But Fleetwood had not headed that warning and the second time they allowed Gillingham to shoot from distance the net bulged once again as Luke O'Neill's curling effort once again squeezed past a diving Cairns.

Parker blasted an effort over but Town did grow into game as confidence and belief began to seep back in though the Gills still had the game by the scruff of the neck with Eaves nodding another cross into the box straight at Cairns.

Town sparked into life once again with Dempsey's deflected effort falling sweetly to Hiwula unmarked though even if he had not just blasted the ball straight at Holy it would not have stood as he was flagged offside, though it might have been a case of the fog impacting the assistant referee's view given the forward looked to be onside.

With Pond on the bench and this young team lacking experience it needed a leader to stand up and restore Town's belief on the pitch as many looked deflated as the half-time whistle approached.

They did however pick themselves back up in the dying embers of the half with Glendon's free-kick eventually dropping to Cargill though his deflected effort cannoned wide of the right stick and a Glendon corner was wasted by the unmarked Bolger who nodded wide of the same stick.

At the break Gillingham had a two goal cushion but that was far from due to the class of the Gills and more down, once again, to Town's Achilles Heel of failing to deal with crosses into the box and a failure to close down at the top of the box.

Though it was a positive that Town did not entirely crumble having found themselves two down just 16 minutes in but it was far from the response Rosler and the Cod Army expected from Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Peterborough with a scattering of boos at the break.

Cargill had had a torrid 45 and was withdrawn at the break along with O'Neill as Rosler threw Sowerby and Hunter on to switch to a 4-3-3 though Town did not just have a 2-0 mountain to climb but they also had to battle deteriorating visibility conditions as the fog increased.

Town were more positive at the start of the second half as Hiwula sent the ball crashing past the right stick from distance though it was the Gills who had more teeth up top and the ball in the back of the net once again.

Though Town were greatful to the assistant once again as yet more slack marking on a set-piece saw Eaves nod home unmarked though Town were let off as the flag was raised.

Town did push bodies forward and try to find a way back into their game but the Gills absorbed their pressure and limited their chances.

Bolger picked up a facial injury going to meet a Glendon headers and came off bleeding to a standing ovation as skipper Pond entered the fray.

There were appeals for handball in the box after a Glendon corner but those cries were in vain as Town continued to pile the pressure on the Gills.

Pond nodded over a Glendon corner but the midfielder's set-piece delivery was unusually poor as he wasted a succession of set-pieces in the dying stages.

The statistics of not a single shot on target in the second 45 tell their own tale as Town were devoid of ideas in the final third right up until the death.

They did have two late sparks with Dempsey's thunderous goal bound strike blocked and Hiwula's angled effort fizzing past the right stick.

Though there will be more than just the Christmas Day turkey for Rosler and company to chew on with simple errors at the back and a lack of ingenuity in the final third once again the story of Town's failure to collect three points against a Gillingham side, that frankly, were no world beaters.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Bolger (Pond, 70), Cargill (Sowerby, 46), Bell, Dempsey, Glendon, O'Neill (Hunter, 46), Hiwula, Cole. Subs not used: Neal, Burns, Maguire, Schwabl.

Gillingham: Holy, O'Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Wagstaff ( Hessenthaler, 39) Eaves (Wilkinson, 81), Martin, Ogilvie, Parker, Clare, Byrne. Subs not used: Arnold, Lacey, Nugent, List, Cundle.

Referee: D Webb

Attendance: 2088 (85 away)