MATCH REPORT: Plymouth 1 Fleetwood 2
Fleetwood Town cruised to a sublime 2-1 win over Plymouth in the pouring rain at Home Park as Wembley hero Antoni Sarcevic gave Town another gift.
Sarcevic’s free-kick fired Town to promotion from League Two in 2014 but it was his slip-up that saw Bobby grant steal in and tee-up Jordy Hiwula to send Town on to winning ways as they bounced back from a 3-1 defeat to Charlton with a league win.It was a strong first-half display as Rosler's men utilised the width of Home Park to deploy their wing-wizards. And it worked to near devastating effect in the first 45 with both Amari'i Bell and Lewie Coyle enjoying time and space on the flanks as they bombed down the wings.It was from a slick piece of skill by Bell in the second minute that gave the referee Craig Hicks a big decision to make as his cross appeared to be handled by Oscar Threlkeld. Though the referee did not bat an eyelid and waved away Town's claim in front of a big crowd at Home Park.There was a hint of what was to come in the second 45 as Cian Bolger nearly released Hiwula one-on-one but he just could not keep the ball under control as Town tried to keep the home faithful quiet.Fleetwood were dominant but Plymouth still showed flashes of danger with Gregg Wylde's deflected effort flying wide from distance.Though it was still all about Town's wing-backs as Coyle flashed an effort wide of the left stick and fizzed in two fine crosses after Fleetwood kept switching play across the wings and exploited the width of the pitch.Town kept the pressure up and caused grumbles to ripple through a crowd who have now become accustomed to defeat since their return to the third tier but despite their dominance they could not find the elusive first goal in the opening 25 minutes.And Fleetwood should have taken the lead in the 33rd minute but some last-ditch and controversial defending thwarted Hiwula.The forward found a gap in the back line once again but he as he was pushed off the ball by Ryan Edwards he rode the challenge to get his shot away, though the foul had disrupted his connection with the ball meaning his low drive feebly rolled towards the goal line with Edwards racing back to just hook it off the line. It was an incident Rosler said deserved a penalty and a red card, though referee Craig Hicks did not see it that way and Plymouth just survived.After escaping unscathed the home faithful started to bang their drum and start to believe again with the noise levels rising as Town's 139 travllling supporters kept on cheering in the soaking rain, though their men entered the break at 0-0 after a fine first-half performance that deserved a goal.Plymouth came out rejuvenated after the break, as the belief in the crowd seemed to seep back into Derek Adams' injury hit side, though they lost another body Threlkeld to injury.But that blow did not rock them, infact all 11 players stood up to be counted and stopped Town's width at the start of the second half as Fleetwood gave away a number of set-pieces.The hosts won a number of soft set-pieces but for once Graham Carey's delivery was not up to scratch with as they failed to exploit a number of dead ball positions, though Town's defence stood strong when a question was posed of them.Town's deadliness on the counter-attack is renowed but it was their pressing play that did the damage once again, ex-Town man Sarcevic was the unfortunate Plymouth player who made an error to lose the ball to Bobby Grant who slid in Hiwula to sprint one-on-one and he curled the ball home with ease in the 63rd minute.Hiwula had another chance to put the game to bed as he latched on to Cole's pull-back but his first time effort just went over the wrong side of the bar.The hosts had more dangerous set-pieces to no avail with keeper Cairns nearly the architect of his own downfall as he slipped on the ball with Blissett looming, though fortunately his stumble on the sodden turf was minor and he got back up to claim the ball.And as the game rolled to a close but as the fans tumbled out into the whirling winds Town broke with another devastating counter. Burns pulled the strings as he raced at Argyle, as the hosts had pushed players up in search for a leveller Town found themselves with four men charging towards the box. The striker slid the ball to Bell on the left, he beat his man and fired the ball into the bottom corner. It was a strikers finish and a deserved goal for the left-back. It had been a solid and strong defensive display by Town but with a clean sheet just seconds away it was agonisingly snatched away as a Carey right wing cross into the box was nodded in by Fletcher.Though it was a fine and solid return to winning ways in the league for Town as Rosler's men erased memories of a leaky September with a return to the form and top six mentality that fuelled last season’s top four finish.Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Bolger, Pond, Eastham, Coyle, Dempsey, Glendon (O’Neill, 55) Grant, Bell, Cole, Hiwula (Burns, 76). Subs not used: Neal, Hunter, Schwabl, Sowerby, Cargill.Plymouth: Letheren, Sawyer, Songo'o, Edwards, Ness, Sarcevic (Fletcher, 83) Carey, Blissett, Jervis (Lameiras, 66) Threlkeld (Taylor-Sinclair, 46), Wylde. Subs not used: Ciftci, Grant, Fox, Cooper.