MATCH REPORT: Scunthorpe United 0 Fleetwood Town 5

Wes Burns celebrates scoring
Wes Burns celebrates scoring
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Not even a month into his first season and Joey Barton’s Town are smashing records left, right and centre – but this 5-0 demolition of Scunthorpe at Glanford Park will be remembered as Burns’ night.

Town’s on-loan Sheffield United forward Ched Evans drew first blood, the Blades hit-man blunting the Iron with two close-range efforts as Town stormed into an early lead.

Fleetwood kept up the heat, Burns taking the spotlight.

The wing wizard has a new number seven shirt this term and he lit up the pitch with a delightful chip and fine strike in a first half that slayed Nick Daws’ Scunthorpe.

Ash Hunter is never far from the action and got his name on the scoresheet in the second half as Barton’s men carved themselves into history with Fleetwood’s biggest-ever away victory and biggest-ever league win.

The last time Town got anywhere near a scoreline as dominant as this was in November 2015, a 5-1 win over Swindon to be the highlight of a not so rosy campaign under Steven Pressley.

But under Barton you feel this is not the highlight, more the start of something magical, a statement to the rest of the league. And it was not just the goals and the ease of the victory but a clean sheet.

The role of keeper Alex Cairns and of skipper Craig Morgan and his defence cannot go unnoticed in this.

The only blot perhaps was that the win was not as convincing as it should have been.

That first-half performance left the Cod Army members who had made the trip delighted and wanting more.

Town had more chances but perhaps that is the beauty of this result – that despite the historic significance, despite the comfort of the win, there is still more to come.

The point with Fleetwood right now is that this is still a work in progress but one that is certainly taking shape.

And if you can talk of ‘what if’ and ‘what could be’ after a 5-0 thrashing of a side that was in the play-offs last year just a couple of weeks into the new campaign, then get the popcorn out because this way well be a blockbuster term.

Barton made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Rochdale last time out.

Kyle Dempsey’s knee gash had not healed in time for the clash at Glanford Park and new Norwich loan signing James Husband went straight in at left-back.

Husband replaced Gethin Jones, who dropped out of the squad as Leeds loanee Lewie Coyle moved over to right- back.

Burns came in for Dempsey as Barton went 4-4-2, with Ash Hunter and Burns dropping back into midfield.

Paddy Madden returned to his former club to start in a front two alongside Evans, who had shaken off a back injury to start.

Cian Bolger lost some teeth in Saturday’s draw with Dale and Tommy Spurr took his spot on the bench.

In the Iron line-up, the 56 travelling Town fans saw a familiar face as Josh Morris took his spot in the line-up.

Scunthorpe were beaten 3-0 by Sunderland last time out and they showed an instant reaction to that result, with Morgan having to make a vital block from Stephen Humphrys’ strike and then the Town skipper was on hand to thwart a scramble in the box after Morris’ set-piece.

Fleetwood lived on the counter, with Burns and Hunter utilised in midfield wing roles, and it was Madden who had Town’s first chance, slicing the ball wide of the left stick.

Ex-Town man Morris escaped with a yellow after a strong tackle on Town new boy Husband, then tested Cairns with a fierce strike.

But despite Scunthorpe’s good start, this new system enhanced Town’s counter threat and after absorbing the early pressure it was a case of shooting practice for the visitors.

Burns, elevated back to the starting XI, was the star of the show. It was his mazy run on the right wing that drew the first blood.

His cross into the mix found Madden, whose shot was only parried by Rory Watson to the looming Evans and he did not need asking twice to slot the ball home in just the 16th minute.

Hunter’s looping cross was then nodded home by Evans at the back stick as Town went for the jugular.

But Burns was to steal the limelight as an outstanding strike gave the attacker his first goal of the season.

And like buses Burns made it two moments later.

Sent clean through by Madden, the forward was on fire, equalling his league goal total for last season in a matter of minutes at Glanford Park.

But that is not saying it was all Town. While the frontmen rightly steal the headlines, keeper Cairns more than earned his clean sheet with three fine saves.

Firstly he thwarted Dales one-on-one, then Morris from an impossible angle and finally Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

The second half was not as entertaining but showed that Town had learned their lessons.

After the 2-2 last-gasp draw with Rochdale, game management was top of the agenda.

And perhaps the only blot on this sublime 5-0 win was that Town only added one more in the second half.

But what a goal, Hunter popping up with a screamer of a curled effort to ensure this night went down in history.

This, you feel, is when everything clicked and now the rest of the division will be taking notice.

Some may have asked whether Barton’s men could do it on a wet, miserable night at Scunthorpe.

This result certainly answered that question and left he Cod Army dreaming that the best is yet to come.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Morgan, Husband, Burns, Marey, Holt, Hunter (McAleny, 70), Evans (Grant, 62), Madden (Long, 78). Subs not used: Jones, Spurr, Biggins, Sheron.

Scunthorpe: Watson, Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Ojo, Humphrys (Novak, 69), Morris, Dales, Perch (Horsfield, 85) Thomas (Colclough, 60), Burgess, McArdle. Subs not used: Flatt, Lund, Goode, Butroid.

Referee: Carl Boyeson.