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Fleetwood 0 Rovers 0

18 November 2017

Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns made three good second-half saves to deny Rovers in a goalless draw at Highbury.

He tipped two powerful efforts from John Marquis over the bar, and palmed away a Rodney Kongolo effort, as Darren Ferguson’s men had to settle for a point.

Ferguson stuck with a 3-4-3 formation, with Joe Wright, Andy Butler and Mathieu Baudry at the back. Jordan Houghton, Harry Toffolo, Kongolo and Matty Blair made up a four-man midfield, with Tommy Rowe and Jame Coppinger providing support to No.9 Marquis.

The opening period was even, with a Devante Cole cross from the right intercepted by Wright then claimed by Ian Lawlor.

Kyle Dempsey got a shot away for the home side, but it took a deflection and was comfortable for Lawlor to collect.

The game was then cagey, although a brief period of frantic end-to-end play broke out as Rovers got away down the right only for Marquis’ pullback to be behind his team-mates.

Fleetwood then countered, with Wes Burns getting away down the right but there was too much power in his shot and it sailed away to safety.

Rovers threatened after 15 minutes when Coppinger got a low delivery across the six-yard area, but Rowe could not quite get on the end of it.

Cole again caused problems as he got on the end of a Burns cross, but there was not enough power or direction on his header to trouble Lawlor.

Fleetwood crafted the best opening after 21 minutes with some smart play which looked set to send Cole through on goal. He tried to place his shot but it rolled wide, while an assistant’s flag was also up for offside.

Chances were at a real premium of the rest of the half, though Houghton had a shot blocked and Coppinger stung the palms of Cairns with a shot which looked to take a minor deflection.

It remained goalless at the break, though, with no changes from either side for the second period.

The first chance of period came for Rovers, with Kongolo flashing the ball across goal from the right and it going just wide.

Rovers were almost undergone by a quick counter-attack after 55 minutes. Jody Hiwula set Cole free on goal, but Lawlor got down quickly to stop the effort then safely smothered the ball with two home players lurking.

Rovers created their best chance of the match after 64 minutes after some great play down the left. It ended up with Rowe playing the ball to Marquis, who turned into space and let fly with a powerful right-footed shot which Cairns did brilliantly to tip over the bar.

Baudry was shown the yellow card for dissent after 66 minutes when he argued too strongly with the officials after Cian Bolger’s late tackle on Kongolo - it had earned the home captain a booking of his own, though the Rovers players argued for more.

Both sides worked hard to create chances, but none for Rovers come close to matching Marquis’ effort earlier in the second period until a late counter attack down the left ended with Cairns palming away a Kongolo shot.

Marquis almost nicked it with another move on the counter, cutting in from the left, but Cairns was again on hand to tip the ball over the bar.

Fleetwood causes a few problems from corners, but Rovers defended resolutely to claim the point.


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