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MATCH REPORT: Charlton 0 Fleetwood 0

Cian Bolger
Cian Bolger

Fleetwood Town picked up their first league clean sheet of 2018 and moved out of the bottom four thanks to a 0-0 draw at Charlton.

Northampton's 3-0 defeat to Rotherham saw Town move above them and out of the relegation places on goal difference.

And the point was down to a solid defensive performance and a long overdue clean sheet as Town picked up their first clean sheet in League One since they beat Bury 2-0 on December 30.

It ensured John Sheridan's unbeaten run as Town head coach rolled on to three games but Fleetwood will need to sharpen up in attack if they are to finally get that first league win since they beat Southend 2-1 in January.

Fleetwood Town boss John Sheridan made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Plymouth last time out.

Centre-half Cian Bolger recovered from a groin injury and returned to the back four with central midfielder Toumani Diagouraga and Wes Burns also recalled to the line-up.

They came in for George Glendon, Conor McAleny and Nathan Pond who all moved to the bench as Sheridan opted for a 4-5-1 formation.

Charlton had a lively start as they aimed to bounce back from their 1-0 midweek defeat to Blackpool.

They targeted Town's right-footed left-back Gethin Jones from the off as Reeves outfoxed the defender.

His initial strike cannoned into the defender and back to him then the Charlton man dance into the area but his effort fizzed past the left stick.

Sheridan has given his men a freedom to attack and it was a fantastic team move that nearly gave the visitors the breakthrough.

Sowerby sliced the ball over to Coyle on the right flank, he released Burns and his cross fell to Madden but the normally clinical forward saw his effort blocked.

But up the other end it took a huge block by Ash Eastham to thwart the hosts as he somehow managed to block Fosu's goalbound effort and keep Town on level terms.

The defender was talismanic and it took another Eastham block to deny Reeves who had found space around the penalty box as Charlton kept exploiting the space in-between the defence and attack.

Once again Town exploited the width of the Addicks' pitch with Burns and Hunter playing on the wings often dropping into midfield roles and forward roles depending on who had possession.

And it was the forward thinking trio that nearly got the break through with some slick play by Burns and Madden leading to a looping header for Hunter though his effort collected by Amos.

And Town continued to look lively on the attack as Hunter broke on the left and snaked into the box. But there was nobody to convert his cross that flew across the six yard box, though the clearance fell to Sowerby with his strike eventually dropping to Dempsey who sent the ball crashing straight down Amos' throat.

Though it was the hosts who finished the half the stronger, with Fosu firing the ball just over the bar before the break.

Fosu again went for the jugular just after the break as his angled effort was tipped away by Cairns and then eventually cleared by Diagouraga.

And Charlton pushed on with both teams leaving gaps that could have been exploited but Reeves fired the ball straight down Cairns' throat

It was end-to-end as Hunter's free-kick from the right was nodded down and wide by Burns but neither side had a clinical touch and there was little to separate the two despite the gulf in the league that sees Town battling it out at the bottom and Charlton still in the play-off hunt.

Town should have taken the lead as Hunter sprinted in but his strike cannoned back to Sowerby who's effort was just diverted wide by Burns at the back stick.

Then it was Charlton's turn to threaten as substitute Ajose ran one on one with Cairns and chipped the ball home but thankfully his effort was chalked off due to offside.

Once again Town found themselves in a strong attacking position, yet a poor final ball and final option let them down.
Madden had sprinted forward in acres of space on the right with McAleny on his left, he passed the ball over but it was behind his strike partner who recovered to send a deflected effort past the left post.

Both sides seemed happy to take a point and Dempsey's cross fell to Sowerby but his deflected effort was just stopped as Town managed to handle all that the opposition tamely threw at them in the dying embers to hold on to a morale boosting clean sheet.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Bolger, Jones, Sowerby, Dempsey, Diagouraga, Hunter, Burns (McAleny, 75) Madden (Hiwula, 87). Subs: Neal, Pond, Grant, Maguire, Glendon.

Charlton: Amos, Bauer, Pearce, Marshall, Magennis, Reeves, Fosu, Konsa, Aribo, Forster-Caskey, Sarr. Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Jackson, Ajose, Kaikai, Lennon, Zyro, Dijksteel.

Referee: Mark Heywood.