MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 2 Peterborough 0
It was a fairy-tale return to first team action for Jack Sowerby as he capped his first start of the season with a fine strike.
Sowerby was a surprise inclusion in Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler’s starting line-up but justified his selection just three minutes in as he slotted the ball past Luke McGee one-on-one to open the scoring.
It was a slick team goal with Amari’i Bell pumping the ball up from the left wing towards David Ball who plucked it from the air and rolled it back to Hunter who carved through Peterborough’s defence to send Sowerby through on goal to net his first ever league goal just days after scoring in the development squad’s 2-0 win over PNE.
David Ball and Ashley Eastham had efforts cleared off the line before Bobby Grant’s strike from Devante Cole’s peach of a cross from the right went in off a luminous yellow Posh shirt.
Cole had time to rattle the woodwork as Fleetwood strolled to victory after five league games without a win or a clean sheet.
The result moves Rosler’s men up to 13th in the League One table and they are now a point behind Peterborough.
Before kick-off Peterborough had to make a last minute change with top scorer Marcus Maddison unable to take his place in the starting XI due to illness with George Moncur taking his place.
Sowerby was handed his first start of the campaign and started on the right flank of a 4-4-2 formation with Jimmy Ryan and Kyle Dempsey in the middle and Grant on the left.
Hunter was recalled to the starting XI to partner Ball with Chris Long not fit enough to feature and Conor McLaughlin returned from international duty to slot back in at right back.
And it was a dream start for Sowerby as he latched on to Hunter’s ball to run clear, keep his head and calmly fire home.
There were some squeaky defensive moments but Peterborough could not capitalise and Town soon oiled out their rustiness as they returned to action after their international break.
Grant was lucky to stay on the pitch as he appeared to seek retribution for receiving a bad knock on the leg by sliding in late on the player he thought had fouled him Da Silva Lopes and received a yellow card for his troubles.
Ryan Tafazolli wasted a free header as Town failed to fully clear a corner and when the ball was pumped back in from the right the centre-half was in acres of space six-yards out but fortunately nodded straight at Neal.
Hunter cleverly won a free-kick as he ran into Hayden White on the edge of the box and Ball whipped the subsequent set-piece up towards the top left corner where Luke McGee just got his fingertips to the ball and tip it away.
But normal service from set-pieces resumed from the resulting corner as Ball and Hunter played one short with Ball blasting the ball way off target.
Town were out-muscled on the left flank as Peterborough pushed bodies up on the right, they eventually slid the ball into the mix to Coulthirst in space but his first-time shot just skimmed past the woodwork.
Rosler’s men continued to fail to clear second balls from set-pieces but Peterborough’s Moncur did them a host of favours with a succession of tame deliveries.
Baldwin was booked for chopping down Grant on the left but his subsequent set-piece was poor and flew to safety on the opposite wing as the first half petered to an end.
Hunter was treated for cramp at the end of the first half and came off five minutes into the second as Cole was introduced.
Town created some slick attacking moves but failed to find a way through as Grant curled the ball wide and Cole glanced wide of the far stick.
They got closer to a second as the clock ticked over the hour mark with Ball’s fierce strike cleared off the line and from the subsequent corner Ashley Eastham’s header was just diverted away from goal by Ryan Tafazolli.
But Town doubled their lead in the 65th minute. Cole steamed down the right and as Tafazolli came over to try and close him down he produced a peach of a cross that flew to the unmarked Grant at the back stick and his first-time effort flew home off a luminous shirt.
Town should have put the game to bed in the 74th minute as Ball switched the ball to Cole on the right but his right-footed rocket crashed back out off the cross bar.
Coulthirst nodded over for Peterborough but the final 20 minutes was a virtual stroll in the park for Town as they sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Fleetwood: Neal, McLaughlin, Pond, Eastham, Bell, Sowerby (Nirennold, 75), Ryan, Dempsey, Grant (Woolford, 87), Hunter (Cole, 50), Ball. Subs not used: Cairns, Jonsson, Bolger, Jakubiak.
Peterborough: McGee, Hughes, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Edwards, Forrester, Moncur (Taylor, 56), Coulthirst, Da Silva Lopes, White (Oduwa, 75), Nichols (Stevens, 82). Subs not used: Tyler, Smith, Almeida Santos, Chettle.
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)
Attendance: 2711 (away 322)