Ipswich 3 Fleetwood 1: Terrible start sees Town finish on losing note
Fleetwood Town ended the season on a losing note at Portman Road, having given themselves a mountain to climb by shipping three goals in the opening half-hour.
Wes Burns produced a clinical finish for their consolation but it proved too little, too late after a bruising first half which ended with the visitors 3-0 down.
Simon Grayson repeatedly stressed that he did not want Town’s League One season to fizzle out but that’s pretty much what happened, with just one win in their final six games and four defeats.
And their uninspiring recent run never looked like changing after a catastrophic start here, conceding twice in the first 10 minutes.
Just two were on the clock when wide man Armando Dobra jinked into the box, beating his man before squaring for James Norwood to ram the ball past keeper Alex Cairns.
Worse followed for Fleetwood when Gwion Edwards chased a seemingly lost cause down the left and shrugged off a half-hearted challenge from James Hill.
The Welshman, forced off through injury six minutes later, cut in before slotting inside the near post.
The visitors appeared to steady the ship and Kyle Vassell – replacing Janoi Donacien in the only change from the 1-1 draw in Town’s final home game against MK Dons – found himself in a promising position before being snuffed out by the Ipswich defence.
Barrie McKay then played a one-two on what could be the Swansea loanee’s final Town appearance and accelerated into the box, though keeper Dai Cornell saved his effort comfortably.
Fleetwood were made to pay when Ipswich added their third, just before the half-hour mark through Troy Parrott.
Andre Dozzell played a ball over the top and the Tottenham Hotspur loanee was slipped in one-on-one by Norwood before rifling past Cairns.
To their credit Fleetwood, who had condemned Ipswich to a 2-0 defeat at Highbury on March 16, tried to fashion a positive response and Danny Andrew drove into the box after a short corner before forcing a save from Cornell.
Town battled gamely after the break too and Burns muscled into the box before seeing his rising drive deflected wide by Mark McGuinness.
At the other end, Cairns made a brilliant save, bravely spreading himself to deny Dobra after the goalscorer was played in Dozzell.
Fleetwood then went back on the attack and reduced the arrears after 72 minutes.
Burns chased his own through-ball and got the better of McGuinness before slamming the ball high into the far corner of the net. It was his sixth of the season.
Fleetwood fashioned two more late chances, though the first would have been ruled out for offside as Jordan Rossiter fed Ged Garner, whose shot was well saved by Cornell.
Then Burns fired a powerful effort across the face of goal from a tight angle.
It was the last shot in anger of Fleetwood’s season, which ended with Town in 15th spot.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Burns, Hill, Connolly, Andrew (Morris 85), Biggins, Rossiter, Finley (Whelan 86), Garner, Vassell (Sheron 45), McKay (Baggley 86); Subs not used: Coleman, Holgate, Morris.
Ipswich: Cornell, Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock, Downes, Dozzell, Dobra (Harrop 79), Parrott (Jackson 79), Edwards (Bennetts 16, Skuse 78), Norwood (Bishop 70); Subs not used: Nsialsa.
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