MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 2 Scunthorpe 3

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

Ten-man Fleetwood Town nearly pulled of an incredible fight-back but they were thwarted by a controversial last-gasp Ivan Toney set-piece.

Ten-man Fleetwood Town nearly pulled of an incredible fight-back but they were thwarted by a controversial last-gasp Ivan Toney set-piece.

Fleetwood rallied back from two goals and a man down to find themselves level in the 67th minute but a late Toney effort after Pond was harshly ruled to have fouled the forward just outside the box extinguished any hopes of a result.

Ex-Fleetwood man Josh Morris sent Scunthorpe boss Graham Alexander's men on the way to his first ever win over his old employers but another controversial moment saw Town face an uphill battle.

Ash Eastham was ruled to have deliberately handled Toney's header and the referee pointed to the spot and sent the Town man off.

Ash Hunter and Bobby Grant netted for Fleetwood as they battled back but it was not enough to stop Scunthorpe.

Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler made one change to the side that lost 2-1 at Gillingham.

Cian Bolger started his two match suspension after picking up his 10th booking at the Priestfield Stadium with skipper Nathan Pond returning to the starting line-up

It was a bright start by Town with Madden fluffing an effort in the box against his old club and Dempsey having a rasping effort from outside the box deflected wide as Town won corner after corner in the opening stages.

But it was from one of those attacking set-pieces that the opposition should have taken the lead. With Town's giant centre-halves Pond and Eastham in the opposition box and every red and white shirt in the Scunthorpe half. Duane Holmes raced onto a clearance from a corner and honed in on goal before sliding the ball over to Morris but Neal made a fine instinct save to thwart the former Town man.

Neal Bishop blasted the ball straight down Neal's throat and the Town keeper had to be at his best again to bat away Tom Hopper's fierce strike.

Town had dominated possession and nearly got their reward from a set-piece after O'Connor slid the ball short to Hunter and his curling effort was just nodded over by Pond.

The hosts continued to win corners and continued to get nearer to the goal as Hunter's set-piece fell to Coyle outside the box but his low effort was chipped over the bar by Eastham.

And Town were punished for not taking their chances as former loan man Morris popped up at the back stick unmarked to slide home Townsend's header in the 26th minute.

Glendon went down holding his ankle and that lead to the early introduction of Bobby Grant against his old side.

But it was all Scunthorpe as the half drew to a close with Vermijl's effort stinging the palms of Neal and Toney offside as he went for the follow-up.

Morris should have doubled their lead as he pounced on Pond's failed clearance from a Holmes ball in but there was to be a game changing moment as the referee Mark Heywood made a huge decision.

Toney's header hit Eastham six-yards out in the box on the arm but the referee harshly ruled the defender had deliberately handled the effort. He pointed to the spot and then deliberated before showing Eastham a straight red card. The home faithful were left shell shocked by the decision and Morris stepped up to blast the spot-kick home three minutes before the break.

Rosler sacrificed McAleny to give new Manchester City loan star Charlie Oliver a baptism of fire, though the striker was not happy to have been brought off early.

That saw Town shift to 4-3-2 and they pulled a goal back just before the clock hit the 45 minute mark after great work by Madden and Hunter saw the latter drill the ball home.

That set-up an interesting second 45 and despite Scunthorpe's man advantage Town showed glimmers of promise especially on the counter with Grant's deflected effort just fizzing past the right post.

And it was that man Grant who got Town back into the game. Hunter did the damage once again with a probing run on the right and his effort was spilled by Gilks into the path of Grant who scored against his old club in the 67th minute.

That goal woke the visitors back up and they regained the lead once again in controversial fashion.

Pond was harshly ruled to have fouled Toney just outside the box and the striker dusted himself down to curl the ball past Neal from the subsequent set-piece.

Hunter was ruled offside as Town tried in vain to find a way back but the Iron went closest in the dying stages as Bishop just nodded the ball wide.

The referee and his fellow officials were booed off by the home faithful at the final whistle with many leaving Highbury cursing Heywood and company as Town's hunt for a first league win at home since October rolls on.

Fleetwood: Neal, Coyle, Eastham, Pond, O'Connor, Diagouraga (Hiwula, 80), Glendon (Grant, 32), Dempsey, McAleny (Oliver, 44), Madden, Hunter. Subs: Cairns, Hiwula, Burns, Grant, Oliver, Jones, Schwabl.

Scunthorpe: Gilks, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, Toney (Yates, 90), Morris, Bishop, Hopper (Novak, 69), Vermijl (Sutton, 82), Holmes, McArdle. Subs: Watson, Adelakun, Goode, Sutton, McGeehan.

Referee: M Heywood