Fleetwood Town 2 Southend United 2: Match report

Joey Barton's Fleetwood Town side fought back to stop his old coach Kevin Bond starting his new role as Southend United manager with three points.

Saturday, 6th April 2019, 7:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th April 2019, 7:49 pm
Ched Evans

Barton was coached by Harry Redknapp's long-time assistant Bond at QPR but his Fleetwood Town side rallied to stop the Shrimpers picking up three points.

Captain fantastic Ched Evans twice levelled for Fleetwood as they picked up only their second point of the season after conceding first.

Town had only previously picked up a point after going behind first in the 1-1 draw at Gillingham but Evans' 85th minute penalty kept their slim hopes of chasing down sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers alive.

Bond nearly started his Southend United managerial career in the worst possible way as Paddy Madden found the net.

But the Irishman's second minute header was chalked off for offside and the Shrimpers re-grouped.

They opened the scoring in the 20th minute as Harry Bunn capitalised on a defensive error.

It was experienced midfielder Ross Wallace who slipped up as his clearing header flew straight to Simon Cox.

He fed Michael Kightly and his shot looped up into the path of Harry Bunn who poked the ball past Cairns in the 20th minute.

After that goal it was a battle of attrition with both sides lacking spark up top.

Barton acted to change that at the break as he sent Nadesan and Hunter on for Biggins and Rydel.

That saw Town shift to 3-4-3 with Hunter taking a left wing role and Nadesan joining the front three.

Town were a greater threat with Hunter in the mix.

He made an immediate impact and Town should have levelled but Natahn Bishop pulled off an incredible save to thwart Paddy Madden.

Madden's cross from the right fell to Souttar, he slipped the ball back to Burns who intelligently fizzed the ball back to Madden on the right.

It looked a certain goal but Bishop somehow got a toe to the ball.

Hunter hit the woodwork from the subsequent corner going for goal direct from the set-piece but he was denied by the woodwork.

But Town soon got the goal their second half play deserved.

Nadesan's delightful ball split open Southend's defence like a hot knife through butter to send Ched Evans clear.

His thunderous strike was too hot for Bishop to handle with the Southend keeper nearly thrown off his feet into the goal due to the force of Evans' 15th of the term.

Barton threw Ash Eastham on for the final 20 minutes to move to a flat back four with Burns at right-back and Lewie Coyle pushing up into midfield to replace Jack Sowerby.

Like the first half the second half developed into a clash lacking spark in the final third from both sides.

But Southend woke up again in the 75th minute and their pressure lead to counter attacking opportunities for Fleetwood.

A Shrimpers corner fell to Nadesan on the wing and he surged forward with Evans eventually winning a free-kick.

Ross Wallace whipped the ball up to the back stick with Souttar nodding the ball across goal for Eastham but he could only nod the ball to Bishop from close range.

And Town would pay the price for that missed opportunity.

Barton's side failed to clear a free-kick and the ball fell to Luke Hyam on the edge of the box.

He thundered the ball past Cairns in the 81st minute.

But Town's heads did not drop.

Burns raced down the right wing and as Madden was about to pull the trigger and connect with his cross he was felled by Lennon.

The referee pointed to the spot and Evans calmly made it 2-2 in the 85th minute.

With six minutes added on it looked like Fleetwood had the momentum.

They were roared forward by the Cod Army but Lewie Coyle could only curl the ball wide of the right stick.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Souttar, Husband, Burns, Sowerby (Eastham, 69), Biggins (Nadesan, 46), R Wallace, Rydel (Hunter, 46), Madden, Evans. Subs not used: P Jones, Sheron, Baggley, Hill.

Southend: Bishop, Hyam, Kightly, Cox, Kiernan, Mantom (Dieng, 81), Demetriou, Lennon, Bunn (Humphrys, 69) Hart (Bwomono, 89), White. Subs not used: Oxley, Yearwood, Moore, Kelman.