MATCH REPORT: Scunthorpe 1 Fleetwood 1
A defensive howler by Scunthorpe United saw Fleetwood Town leave the Iron's Glanford Park with a point after Jordy Hiwula struck late on to deny former boss Graham Alexander his first win over his old club.
Hiwula capitalised on a slip from Wallace to stream in and blast home to cancel out Lee Novak’s 18th minute opener.
Town boss Rosler had made one change from Saturday’s other last gasp draw against Rochdale with George Glendon preferred to Aiden O’Neill in the centre of the park.
These are two of the teams that battled it out at the top end of the table last term but with much changes from either side over the summer, they both look different prospects though Rosler’s side are growing in confidence and they continue to build and are now unbeaten in their last two ahead of a huge test at Shrewsbury on Saturday - a team nobody would have expected to be at the top.
It was a lacklustre first half under the floodlights at Scunthrope’s Glanford Park as Fleetwood wasted an opportunity to fell an under confident Iron side but Town could not find a way through a stubborn defence.
Scunthorpe had set-up with a game plan to stop Uwe Rosler’s side and block out their wing-backs and pacey forwards as they defended deep and managed to shut Town’s wing-backs out of the game for the majority of the half.
Hiwula fired one wide in the opening stages but it was the Iron who looked the greater threat as Holmes had the first effort on target of the game
Town have struggled with set-pieces so far this term and that trend coninued as Lee Novak popped up in the 18th minute.
Former Fleetwood man Morris’ corner from the right was flicked on at the front post by Paddy Madden with Lee Novak looming to turn the ball home at the back stick.
Town had not learnt their lessons and the hosts nearly increased their lead from a similar situation as Town failed to clear another Morris corner with Novak popping up in space and blasting the ball straight at Cairns.
Fleetwood tried to live on the counter but with the Iron sitting so deep they could not play on the corner and when they did find space they just could not find that final pass in the opposition third.
Grant did find Hiwula with a neat ball over the top but Hiwula could only blast the ball wide of the right stick just after the half hour mark.
Fleetwood woke up in the final five minutes and finally started to find that slick link-up play that Rosler has built his side on with Bell and Coyle finally finding space on the flanks.
It was a delightful Coyle ball from the right that nearly did the damage as it fell tantalisingly just over Cole’s head and onto Clarke. The ball bounced off him and could have gone anywhere but fortuntely for him it was straight to Gilks.
Rosler made a change at the break, tactically withdrawing Cole, who was not nin the blistering form that has seen him net eight so far.
And McAleny was straight in the action with two half chances as Town started to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Though he rolled those two efforts straight down Gilks’ throat.
Scunthorpe were still a threat as the second half became end to end.
The Iron got in behind and it was Novak who popped up with a chance as he stole in at the left post but his angled effort flew past Cairns and just past the right stick.
Fleetwood looked more of a threat since the introduction of McAleny but despite a much improved performance Town could not get that all important goal.
McAleny sprinted towards goal with Hiwula for company as he profited in the space between the midfield and attack and brought Kyle Dempsey into the game as Fleetwood grew into the game.
Rosler had thrown Ash Hunter on and switched to 3-4-3 and the changed to a flat back four as he sent Aiden O’Neill on in the dying stages and Town finally struck.
The goal came late on but it was a horrendous mistake from Wallace that allowed Town in rather than a piece of attacking ingenuity as Alexander was denied his first win over his old club since his September 2015 departure.
Wallace slipped up and Hiwula who had been on his shoulder, raced in to pounce and blast the ball home in the 85th minute.
It ensured Fleetwood’s record of scoring in every league game to date remained intact as Rosler’s men showed the same fighting spirit from their 2-2 comeback draw against Rochdale at Scunthorpe to secure a point.
Ash Hunter could have won it late on as the substitute pounced on a Bolger knock-down but he fired straight at Gilks.
Though Rosler was left rueing what might have been as he saw former Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander’s side as a team for the taking and dubbed the game a missed opportunity.
Though the return of McAleny and his immediate impact after his introduction at the break is a welcome boost for Fleetwood though Cian Bolger’s fifth booking of the campaign now means he misses a crucial clash at high flying Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Bolger, Pond (O’Neill, 79)Eastham, Coyle, Dempsey, Glendon (Hunter, 71), Grant, Bell, Cole (McAleny, 46), Hiwula. Subs: Neal, O’Neill, Burns, McAleny, Schwabl, Cargill.
Scunthorpe: Gilks, Clarke, Wallace, Ojo, Madden, Morris, Bishop, Novak, Holmes (Adelakun, 76), McArdle, Butroid. Subs: Watson, Van Veen, Hopper, Lewis, Adelakun, Redmond, Burgess.
Referee: Peter Bankes.