MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 2 Crewe 0
Fleetwood Town retained their League One status by comfortably beating Crewe Alexandra 2-0 at Highbury.
It was a walk in the park for Steven Pressley’s men after Bobby Grant opened the scoring with a fantastic left-footed strike in the 21st minute.
Town doubled their lead three minutes later as Devante Cole netted his second goal in as many games as he diverted David Ball’s cross home.
Cole had an opportunity to make it three in the second half but failed to hit the target.
Stefan Scougall was the star of the show for Town as he steamed past the Railway Men time and time again.
It could be the young Scot’s last match for Fleetwood as his loan spell is up and he is set to return to Sheffield United but if it is the end, what a way to go as he shined brighter than the sun on a glorious day on the Fylde coast.
Town’s victory ensured their survival and put the final nail in Blackpool’s coffin as they ended up being relegated to League Two.
At the start of the day the last relegation spot was between the two club’s but after Blackpool took an early lead at Peterborough Town’s players must have sensed it as they upped their game and netted twice in four minutes.
With the points all but sealed it was a tame second half with a lacklustre Crewe side showing why they are joining Blackpool, Colchester and Doncaster Rovers in the fourth tier of English football as they failed to show any real menace in the final third.
It was fitting, that in the season captain Nathan Pond broke Jack Ainscough’s 421 club appearance record that Fleetwood finished with a clean sheet.
Their mean defence all but relegated Rovers before kick-off as they finish with one of the bottom half’s most superior goal difference’s of minus four.
It is up front and a lack of goals that has been Town’s downfall over the course of the season but Grant and Cole managed to find that golden touch just in time to see Town over the line on the final day of the campaign.
Pressley made two changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Walsall on Monday.
He recalled strikers Grant and Cole to the starting line-up and the move paid off as both scored.
The Town boss changed formation from 4-3-1-2 to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Cole up top and David Ball, Stefan Scougall and Grant just behind.
Sarcevic missed the game due to a recurrence of a thigh injury and Nick Haughton dropped to the bench.
It was a nasty start to proceedings as Oliver Turton slid in and whipped Scougall’s feet from under him just inside the Town half in the second minute and was subsequently booked for the late challenge.
Cole, who was making only his third start of the campaign, was in the action from the off.
He nodded Bobby Grant’s cross over from close range but he was flagged offside.
Jonsson was booked for tugging back Ainley in the ninth minute.
Town switched play from Bell’s throw-in on the left over to McLaughlin on the right, he slipped the ball inside to Grant who pirouetted at the top of the box, outfoxed the Crewe defence and smashed the ball towards goal but it was just cleared by a Crewe defender.
Just as Blackpool went a goal up at Peterborough Turton - who was already on a yellow card - brought down Cole but the referee did not reach for his pocket.
The news of the Seasiders goal spread around Highbury like wild fire but rather than moan, grumble and wallow in silence the home faithful rallied and played their role as the 12th man by cheering on Pressley’s men and urging them on, not letting the news from afar creep onto the pitch.
And Town finally took the lead in the 21st minute, just seconds after Garratt had punched away Scougall’s goal bound corner Grant was on hand at the top of the box to power home a left-footed rocket from outside the box that squeezed under the bar.
Cole missed a golden opportunity to make it two moments later as he miraculously failed to connect with Ball’s strike with an open goal at his mercy but the striker made up for the miss within minutes.
Over the season Town have been guilty of failing to score when they have been on top, but on a day when it mattered most they found a ruthless streak as Cole diverted Ball’s cross home in the 24th minute.
Crewe were not going down without a fight and they grew into the game as the half went on but their attack was not as menacing as Pressley’s pace-men.
Just seconds after Bakayogo had stormed down the left flank and fired straight at Maxwell Town carved Crewe open again as Grant’s low effort rebounded into the path of Ball but the off balance forward could only poke the ball wide of the right stick.
Ball had the first real opportunity of the second half but as he spun in the box he miss-hit the ball and it flew way off target.
But Crewe had not given up hope and Turton smashed the ball wide of the left post as they tried to find a way back into the game.
Cole missed another good opportunity to put Town out of sight. Scougall’s perfectly weighted pass sent the striker one-on-one with Garratt but he sliced the ball wide of the right post.
Scougall had been unable to exploit the gaps between the defence and midfield in the previous two games but he had a field day against Crewe.
He dribbled his way towards goal but unfortunately his strike was deflected away from goal by his team mate Cole.
Pressley mixed things up with half and hour to go as he brought Danny Andrew and Victor Nirrenold on to shore up the midfield with Scougall up in support of Cole.
Zoumana Bakayogo curled the ball way wide of the right stick and substitute Daniel Udoh nodded over for Crewe.
Ash Hunter also entered the fray but after being released by another terrific Scougall pass he unfortunately tripped over his own feet and lost the ball.
Hunter was booked for playing on and going for goal after he was flagged offside.
It was a half devoid of any clear cut chances until the final minute when Crewe decided to wake up and try and try and pull a goal back.
Jordan nearly sliced David Fox’s right wing cross into his own goal but Maxwell was on hand to stop it and the game ended 2-0 with Town securing their League One status.
Town: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Jordan, Pond, Bell, Jonsson, Ryan, Ball (Andrew, 58), B Grant (Nirennold, 61), Scougall, Cole (Hunter, 73). Subs not used: Moore, Nilsson, Haughton, Ameobi.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Ray, Guthrie, Bakayogo, Fox (c), Bingham, Ainley (Udoh, 65), Kirk (Cooper, 77), Inman, Haber (Saunders, 59). Subs not used: Nugent, Dalla Valle, Richards, Jones.
Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire)