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Fleetwood Town 3 Rovers 0

26 December 2018

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There was little Christmas cheer for Rovers as they fell to a Boxing Day defeat at a clinical Fleetwood Town.

Rovers boss Grant McCann named an unchanged side, and they edged possession in a tight encounter which saw both sides register the same amount of shots on goal - but were made to pay by the impressive finishing of the home side.

The visitors opened brightly, with Ali Crawford firing over in the opening minute and Danny Andrew shooting wide after eight minutes.

But the home side took their lead with their first opportunity after 11 minutes, with Paddy Madden heading home.

Rovers pushed for an equaliser, forcing home goalkeeper Alex Cairns into some good saves.

He did well to save Crawford's free-kick after 15 minutes, then moments later had to be alert to palm away a James Coppinger drive.

And when Cairns was beaten his goal lived a charmed life - with a lofted Danny Andrew free-kick clipping off the inside of a post before being turned home by Andy Butler - only for the effort to be disallowed for offside.

There was claims for a penalty with 25 minutes gone when Mallik Wilks looked to be hauled down in the area, but the referee was unmoved.

Rovers were forced into a change at the break as Shaun Cummings felt a problem with his groin, with Tommy Rowe coming off the bench and Herbie Kane dropping to cover at right-back.

But things got worse for Rovers early in the second period when Ched Evans pounced on a loose ball and set up Ash Hunter to double Fleetwood's advantage.

Rovers again were in the position of having to fightback from falling behind to an early goal, with Alfie May, Ben Whiteman and Rowe all seeing efforts blocked.

John Marquis fired over, while Tom Anderson also headed wide as it began to become clear it was not to be Rovers' day as they had to contend with a smart home side and heavy fog which descended midway through the second period.

Ian Lawlor pulled off a great save from Biggins, but he was to be beaten again as Madden grabbed his second of the match in the closing stages.

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