The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam All­sop

FLEET­WOOD TOWN left it late against an in-form Southend United side as they con­tin­ued their im­pres­sive un­beaten run in League One.

The Cod Army haven’t lost in the league since early Novem­ber but their re­mark­able 11-game un­beaten run was min­utes away from be­ing shat­tered af­ter a frus­trat­ing per­for­mance against a solid Shrimpers unit.

But top-scorer David Ball came up with the goods in the dy­ing mo­ments of the game when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box and he curled a de­light­ful fin­ish into the top cor­ner with his left foot.

The vis­i­tors have now only lost one in their last 16 league games in a run that has helped them surge into the play-off places.

And, when An­thony Wordsworth swept home Marc-An­toine For­tune’s cut back, they never looked like los­ing the game.

Southend con­trolled pro­ceed­ings for al­most 80 min­utes when For­tune was re­placed, which meant they lost their fo­cal point of at­tack and sur­ren­dered the im­pe­tus to Fleet­wood, who gob­bled up their chance to nab a point.

“We went up there with a game plan and we ex­e­cuted it to the nth de­gree and that’s in­clud­ing los­ing the club cap­tain [An­ton Fer­di­nand] in the warm-up,” said Shrimpers man­ager Phil Brown.

“If any­one de­served a clean sheet it was John White. He was out­stand­ing in the face of ad­ver­sity when they were throw­ing ev­ery­thing at us. “To force a side like Fleet­wood, who are in such a rich vein of form, into gung-ho tac­tics at the end of the game just shows you what char­ac­ter my side have got.

“I was hav­ing a bit of crack with the lines­man and the fourth of­fi­cial and I’m think­ing the ref­eree had a draw on the coupon.

“I don’t know if that ter­mi­nol­ogy is still around, is there such thing as a coupon any more?!”

Cod Army boss Uwe Rosler played all his cards in a very at­tack­ing man­ner, bring­ing Wes Burns and De­vante Cole off the bench in an ef­fort to change the game as his side pressed for a lev­eller.

“We had dif­fi­cul­ties to com­pete phys­i­cally – they were very tough and di­rect,” said Rosler.

“At times they bul­lied us. It was a great les­son for our young play­ers.

“We showed the longer the game went on that we have tremen­dous heart.

“In the end we could have nicked it. In the sec­ond half we were the bet­ter team the longer the half went on.

“I have to give credit to them and their man­ager Phil Brown, they made it very dif­fi­cult for us.

“We had four strik­ers on at the end of the game and they all have dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties.

“But David Ball is the one who can make a goal out of noth­ing.

“There was no chance, it was just in­di­vid­ual skill and class from a class player.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

JUST IN TIME: David Ball cel­e­brates his late equaliser for Fleet­wood

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