MATCH REPORT: Blackburn 2 Fleetwood 2

Fleetwood Town head coach Uwe Rosler applauds the fans
Fleetwood Town head coach Uwe Rosler applauds the fans

Wes Burns ended his goal drought to ensure Fleetwood Town left the home of ex-Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers with a point.

It was a far from pretty end to Burns’ lengthy 19 month wait for a league goal but the forward managed to bundle home George Glendon’s corner after a mad scramble in the box after some ghoulish defending by Rovers on this Halloween clash.

It was a goal that sealed a fight back for Fleetwood who more than deserved a point.

That late Burns effort was the second time that Fleetwood had come back from behind as Burnley loan star Aiden O’Neill aptly popped up with a goal against his parent club’s bitter rivals.

Speaking before the match the Aussie had targeted scoring a goal to become a legend on his eventual return to Turf Moor in the summer and the stars were aligned for O’Neill as he made up for the error that allowed Bradley Dack to nod in an opener by pouncing on David Raya’s spill from Ash Hunter’s initial shot.

Joe Nuttall had marked his debut for Rovers with another effort from inside the six yard box but Burns popped up in the 83rd minute to ensure Town’s first ever game at Ewood Park ended with a point.

But the delight of a point that felt like a win for Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler was dented by an injury blow to Bobby Grant who hobbled out of the ground on crutches due to a knee injury

Fleetwood head coach Rosler made two changes to the side that beat Oxford in midweek with Jordy Hiwula and Ash Hunter in for the injured Conor McAleny and Devante Cole.

It might have been Halloween but there was nothing scary about either sides front line in the first half.

Fleetwood stood strong early doors as Bolger blocked a Whittingham strike from distance and Williams nodded over a corner.

Grant was brimming with confidence after netting his second of the campaign against Oxford and popped up with another effort from 25-yards that Raya just tipped around his right post.

Town threatened from that subsequent set-piece as Glendon’s corner was flicked on by Eastham at the back stick but just past the right stick

Bolger and company were on hand to clear a number of Rovers set-pieces as Town absorbed everything the hosts threw at them with ease.

And with Town’s dangerous strike force they always had a bite on the counter with Grant rasping a first time volley towards goal that was just held by Raya under his bar.

Antonsson found space again but he blasted over the bar as Rovers continued to up the pressure as the half drew to a close.

Cairns was tested once again and used his legs to thwart Dack. The Rovers midfielder was at the forefront of all of the hosts good attacking play as he exploited the gap between Town’s midfield and defence and he breezed past both Cargill and Glendon to tee-up Antonsson but Cairns was stubborn and he kept the score locked at 0-0 at the break.

Rosler threw on Burnley loanee O’Neill at the break for Grant and he was to make a mark later in the day.

Blackburn had tested Fleetwood on set-pieces throughout the first half but Town fell foul of a cross into the box just minutes into the new half.

Rovers deservedly took the lead in the 52nd minute as Fleetwood once again failed to deal with a cross into the box. Williams whipped the ball in from the left, it flew over Cargill and to Graham, Cairns managed to just keep out his first time volley but the lively Dack was on hand to mop up the rebound and nod home.

Rosler reacted by throwing Cole on for Cargill and switching to 4-3-3 and once again the German’s substitutions paid dividends.

Hiwula nodded a ball down to Hunter, his effort cannoned back off Raya to O’Neill and he slid the ball home in the 65th minute.

It was all Fleetwood deserved for their performance and they looked to be the stronger of the two sides with a plethora of attacking options but it was one of Tony Mowbray’s substitutions who made the next move.

Fleetwood had survived a number of Blackburn set-pieces and after Williams had blasted an effort wide it looked like the hosts would never find a way past Town’s stubborn resolve.

But some poor defending by Town once again saw debutant and Blackburn’s development squad top scorer Joe Nuttall mark his first ever appearance off the bench with his first goal in the 77th minute.

This Fleetwood side though never know when they are beaten and after Hunter went close it was another forward Burns who was Town’s saviour.

His last league goal came for Fleetwood in a loan spell when they beat Peterborough 2-0 in April 2016 but he managed to bundle the ball home from close range after a mad scramble with Raya flapping as Town once again showed that never say die spirit.

Blackburn had late shouts for a penalty waved away after Coyle looked to have handled in the box but it looked like Fleetwood would be the side to go on and win it as grumbles echoed round Ewood Park but that elusive winner never came and Rosler’s men had to settle for a point.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Eastham, Bolger, Cargill (Cole, 61), Coyle, Dempsey, Glendon, Grant (O’Neill, 46), Bell, Hiwula (Burns, 73), Hunter. Subs: Neal, Pond, Schwabl, Sowerby.

Blackburn: Raya, Nyambe, Williams, Smallwood (Evans, 69), Graham (Nuttall, 69), Whittingham, Mulgrew, Antonsson (Hart, 81), Dack, Downing, Conway. Subs: Leutwiler, Harper, Hart, Caddis, Gladwin.