MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 3 Bury 2

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler
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It was a feast for the neutral but one that left the Cod Army both gasping in delight and wincing in horror.

Bobby Grant was rested from the squad with Jack Sowerby recalled to the side to make his first league start since Town drew 0-0 with Rochdale at home in February last term as Rosler opted to shift from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2.

It was Bury who made the stronger start with Jermaine Beckford showing flashes of his higher league pedigree but Town still looked a danger on the attack and they should have taken an early lead in the 10th minute but a dreadful Jordy Hiwula spot-kick put paid to that.

Amari’i Bell had bombed forward into the box, he was felled by former Blackpool man Tom Aldred, the loose ball fell to Hiwula but he blasted over and referee Darren England - who had played advantage to allow the unmarked forward a shot at goal - pointed to the spot.

But that was an omen as to what was to follow as the Huddersfield loanee as he went for the top corner but blazed the ball way off target in the 10th minute.

Fortunately the forward made up for his earlier miss as Town’s wing-backs once again took centre stage in the pouring rain at Highbury as Lewie Coyle got in on the right and pulled the ball back for Hiwula to bundle home in the 22nd minute.

Town’s switch back to a pure 3-5-2 wing-back formation was paying dividends with both Coyle and Bell doing the damage with Bury unable to cope with Fleetwood stretching the game.

And Bell took centre stage as he exploited the width to storm down the left and whip in a peach of a cross that fell perfectly in the gap between Bury’s static defence and keeper Murphy to Hiwula at the back stick who made no mistake in the 27th minute.

Rosler had already stated earlier in the campaign that 2-0 is one of the most dangerous scorelines in this league and with the relentless rain Town’s fragility on set-pieces continued. They had conceded from the aftermath of dead ball situations in the 3-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers and 2-2 draw with Oldham and Bury had done their homework.

Chris Maguire’s corner in from the right was nodded on by Michael Smith and Jermaine Beckford showed his Premier League pedigree with a spectacular overhead kick in the 31st minute.

And Bury found Town’s Achilles heel once again as they levelled from a set-piece just before the break. After Bell had needlessly conceded a set-piece Maguire’s corner from the left bounced off O’Neill’s shin and fell to Laurent who rattled home.

Fleetwood should have been out of sight after an impressive opening 30 minutes but with skipper Pond once again on the bench they paid the price for some woeful set-piece defending.

Rosler withdrew Sowerby in the 53rd minute for Glendon to anchor the midfield and give O’Neill more freedom to attack.

And that he did as after great work by the midfield trio saw Dempsey poke the ball on to Coyle on the overlap on the right, his dangerous cross fell perfectly for O’Neill but his diving header clattered into the right post and back out to safety.

But it was not all Town as a mistake at the back by Bournemouth loan man Cargill saw Smith race one-on-one but Cairns was on hand to rescue Town, though it owed more to some poor finishing by the Bury man rather than spectacular shot-stopping.

Rosler made a further change just after the hour mark introducing Ash Hunter and switching to a front three and what a substitution it was too be with the third goal involving all three forwards.

With Bury also looking for a goal Fleetwood countered to devastating effect. Deep in his own half Coyle flicked the ball on for Hunter to race at the Shakers on the right, he fizzed the ball to Hiwula in the middle and he slid Cole in on the overlap to race one-on-one with Murphy, he fired straight at the shot-stopper but poacher Hunter was on hand to gobble up the rebound just minutes after coming on in the 65th minute.

It was all Town from then on but Bury rallied late on as they piled bodies forward in search of an equaliser and after some dubious decisions from the referee they finally got their chance.

Aldred went down off the ball under pressure from Coyle at the back stick and the referee pointed to the spot but for the second time in the game a spot kick flew over the bar as Beckford skied the ball into the travelling Bury fans with the full time whistle following soon after.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Eastham, Bolger, Cargill, Coyle, Dempsey, Sowerby (Glendon, 53), O’Neill (Hunter, 63), Bell, Cole, Hiwula (Burns, 79). Subs not used: Neal, Pond, Ekpolo, Schwabl.

Bury: Murphy, Maguire, Beckford, Williams (Leigh, 61), Edwards, Aldred, Dobre (Cooney, 63), Skarz, Smith, Ince, Bunn (Laurent, 31. Substitutes: Fasan, Whitemore, Styles, Lowe.

Referee: Darren England.