Fleetwood Town 0 Bristol Rovers 0: Both teams strike the woodwork in Highbury goalless draw

Paddy Madden came closest to scoring for Fleetwood Town
Paddy Madden came closest to scoring for Fleetwood Town

Honours ended even at Highbury as Fleetwood Town claimed the point that ensured a top-half finish for Joey Barton’s players this season.

Both sides struck the woodwork in blustery conditions, where a forgettable first hour led to a much more open final 30 minutes.

Barton had made three changes from the side beaten at Blackpool on Easter Monday with Eddie Clarke, Harrison Biggins and Ashley Nadesan handed starting spots.

With Nathan Sheron suspended, James Hill and Paddy Madden were on the bench as Town sought a first victory in five matches.

Playing with a strong wind behind them in the first half, Barton’s players almost had a dream start inside three minutes.

Ash Hunter got the better of Joe Partington but saw his shot beaten out by Jack Bonham, who then did brilliantly to keep out Ched Evans’ follow-up.

At the other end, Alex Cairns’ near post save thwarted Liam Sercombe as both teams struggled with the conditions.

Abu Ogogo and Ed Upson sent further efforts off target for the visitors while Evans headed wide for Town when well placed.

Ross Wallace fired out of the ground from 20 yards, while Upson’s ambitious 40-yarder drifted off target as the first half came to a close.

The second period continued in the same scrappy manner to start with, though Ollie Clarke scuffed a shot into the ground for the visitors.

That was the cue for Madden to come off the bench and add an extra dimension to Town’s attacking play.

Within moments of his arrival, Hunter had seen a dipping volley go narrowly over the bar before Madden was denied by the woodwork.

Moments later and the post came to Town’s rescue this time with Ollie Clarke’s 25-yarder striking the upright.

With one goal looking increasingly likely to win the game, Bonham made an unorthodox stop from Evans, while Cairns’ low save kept out Alex Jakubiak’s shot as, despite four minutes of added time, neither side could find a way through.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Husband, E Clarke (Sowerby 82), Burns, Wallace, Biggins, Hunter, Nadesan (Madden 68), Evans. Subs not used: Jones, Baggley, Hill, Rydel, Mooney.

Bristol Rovers: Bonham, Partington, J Clarke, Lockyer, Craig, Holmes-Dennis (Jakubiak 90), Upson, O Clarke, Ogogo, Sercombe, Clarke-Harris. Subs not used: Smith, Kilgour, Sinclair, Rodman, Nichols, Reilly.

Referee: Jarred Gillett.

Attendance: 3,488.