MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 1 Charlton 3
Uwe Rosler called for the drummer to return to the stands but it was certainly not a day to bang the drum about as Fleetwood crashed back down to earth with a bang.
Rosler admitted he went with his heart rather than his head in the post match analysis as he stuck with the same starting line-up that killed Bradford off 3-0 in a glittering counter-attacking and defensive masterclass.
The 11 that outmanoeuvred Bradford at their home fortress failed to turn on that class on their own home turf after wracking up the miles in that Tuesday night clash.
The pressing, passing and decision making was not on the same levels as it was on Tuesday night as former Town loanee Tarique Fosu-Henry returned to haunt his old club with Town ending a leaky September having conceded 16.
It was a dull start with both side’s cancelling each other out but Town paid the price for losing possession in their own half just before the 15 minute mark as Charlton struck.
Bell was charged down on the left flank, Glendon could not mop up the loose ball in his own half with Clarke nipping in to release Holmes on the right flank, he chipped the ball up to the back stick where Fosu-Henry, who spent time on-loan at Highbury in the 2015-16 term, somehow outfoxed Lewie Coyle to nod home.
After that goal Town had a period where they looked nervous at the back with Forster-Caskey allowed too much time in the box as he blasted over with skipper Pond nearly releasing Magennis as his miss-hit back pass fell into the forward’s path though Cairns was on hand to recover and mop up the danger.
But as the half wore on Fleetwood’s confidence grew and it was their pressing from the front that unlocked Charlton’s defence.
Glendon had joined Cole and Hiwula in harassing the purple shirts at the back and he pounced before fizzing the ball to Cole just outside the box who tumbled as he managed to poke it back to his fellow Manchester City academy graduate who the curled the ball into the path of another ex-City kid Hiwula, it missed his run but Grant had also pushed up and his first-time effort crashed past Amos in the 25th minute.
Amari’i Bell popped up with a late leveller the last time the two side’s met and his thunderous effort from distance cannoned off Amos’ midriff to safety.
Town threatened from a corner as Amos just managed to get a glove above the on-running Bolger at the back stick and tip the ball off his head.
But Amos was not the only busy keeper as the visitors tested Cairns with the keeper batting away Fosu-Henry’s strike and then producing a fine fingertip save to tip Holmes’ 20-yard effort over the bar.
Cole broke away on the counter but after Charlton recovered to stop the danger they went up the other end to restore their lead. Fosu-Henry got in on the right and danced past a number of static red and white shirts inside the box before poking the ball past Cairns five minutes before the break.
Charlton should have made it three just before the half-time whistle as Naby Sarr rose above the pack but his effort just got a touch and flew off target.
Rosler made two changes at the break with Godswill and O’Neill on for Coyle and Glendon as the second half started much like the first 45 with neither side threatening early doors.
Charlton seemed content to hold on to the 2-1 lead and sat back with Fleetwood unable to break them down.
Though as the clock ticked on Fleetwood started to bare their teeth with Bolger galloping down the right flank and feeding Godswill who strolled past a number of purple shirts before sliding the ball across the top of the box to Cole though the forward’s first time curling effort flew over the bar just before the hour mark.
Bell had a penalty claim waved away as he made it to the back line on the left and went to ground under pressure from both Konsa Ngoyo and Mark Marshall but the referee waved away his claim.
Rosler switched things up moments later as he threw on Ash Hunter and brought Ash Eastham off to go 4-3-3 with Bolger and Pond a central duo at the back and wing backs Bell and Godswill dropping back to form a flat back four as Hunter joined Hiwula and Cole up top.
Godswill was still in wing-back mode though and was caught out too far up the pitch as Charlton used the open space on the left to their advantage with Dasilva picking the ball up and feeding Fosu-Henry who sprinted towards goal from his own half and rode a challenge by Pond to stay on his feet and after a header and left-footed finish he completed the perfect hat-trick as he roll the ball right-footed under Cairns to complete his hat-trick.
Hunter’s impressive cross from the right outfoxed everyone to fall kindly for Cole at the back stick but he misjudged the bounce and bundled the ball wide.
Had that gone in the momentum would been with Town and a grandstand finish could have been set-up but it was not to be with Cole wasting the chance to net his eighth of the campaign.
Hiwula and Cole were just thwarted by a scrambling Amos as they threatened late on but Charlton kept Town out.
There was to be late drama but it was up the other end as Forster-Caskey’s late effort was ruled out for offside.
A month of lessons has now come to an end with Town hoping the tumbling of Autumn leaves marks the end of a leaky September.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Bolger, Pond, Eastham (Hunter, 68), Coyle (Godswill, 46), Dempsey, Glendon (O’Neill, 46), Grant, Bell, Hiwula, Cole. Subs not used: Neal, Burns, Hunter, Sowerby, Cargill.
Charlton: Amos, Kashi, Bauer, Magennis, Clarke (Marshall, 52), Holmes (Aribo, 90), Fosu-Henry (Reeves, 82), Konsa Ngoyo, Forster-Caskey, Da Silva, Sarr. Subs not used: Phillips, Jackson.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge.