Victor Adeboyejo scored a 35-minute hat-trick as free-scoring Wanderers continued their winning start to the season on a dramatic night at the Toughsheet Community Stadium, writes Pete Oliver.
Adeboyejo took his tally for the season to four as the Whites made it nine goals in three games in League One to stay top of the early standings.
The re-vitalised striker – who has already surpassed the number of goals he scored for Wanderers last season following his January signing from Burton Albion – did all the damage before half-time as Ian Evatt’s men over-powered a Fleetwood side still looking for their first win.
But the Whites then had to see the contest out with 10 men and their manager sent from the dug-out after Dion Charles was dismissed by referee Tom Neild, who had also dismissed the striker in a case of mistaken identity last season, following a controversial second yellow card.
Charles will now miss Saturday’s visit of local rivals Wigan Athletic but Wanderers couldn’t be going into the derby in any better form after another show of goal power and only an injury-time goal denying the outstanding Nathan Baxter a third successive clean sheet.
Wanderers made two changes to their starting line with George Thomason – fresh from signing a new deal – and Paris Maghoma coming into the side.
Maghoma was starting his first league game and the on-loan Brentford man made an instant impact by laying on the first goal with less than three minutes gone.
A pass from Dion Charles released Maghoma down the inside-right channel and his driven square ball couldn’t have been better delivered for Adeboyejo to hammer into the net from six yards out.
Fleetwood’s response was impressive as Baxter was given his busiest few minutes in a Wanderers’ shirt.
The keeper was equal to everything Town offered, though, and with a quarter of an hour gone Wanderers doubled their lead with a lovely goal.
Ricardo Almeida Santos’ magnificent diagonal pass reached Joshua Dacres-Cogley, who did superbly to steer it back across goal for Adeboyejo to pounce with a near identical finish.
Wanderers looked a threat every time they attacked with pace as Maghoma almost got in on the act but Fleetwood weren’t ready to lie down as they again almost got a goal of their own.
Former Wanderers’ midfielder Josh Vela got in behind the home defence but again Baxter came to the rescue as he spread himself to make a fine save to cap an action-packed first half-hour.
That wasn’t the end of the entertainment, though, as Adeboyejo completed his hat-trick before half-time thanks to another superb team goal as the Whites led 3-0 at the break for the second game in a row.
Wanderers worked the ball from back to front for Dacres-Cogley to again show what he has brought to the party with another fine run and cross which ended with Adeboyejo gleefully firing the ball into the roof of the net.
With nothing to lose, Fleetwood kept pressing forward after the break and with an hour gone Baxter made another smart save to keep out an effort from substitute Danny Mayor.
The Whites needed to re-assert themselves and Adeboyejo thought he’d done it by adding a fourth goal but the striker was fractionally off-side as he lunged to steer an excellent swinging pass from substitute Aaron Morley into the back of the net.
Charles then stabbed an effort at goalkeeper Jay Lynch after the ball had dropped into his path before the two collided.
The Town goalkeeper looked as though he tripped Charles in the aftermath but it was the Wanderers’ striker who was shown a second yellow card seemingly for the earlier innocuous-looking contact.
In the aftermath, Wanderers’ boss Evatt was then sent off – referring to the use of technology to review an incident to the fourth official now a red card offence – and the Whites completed their substitutions to limit the workload for the 10 men.
Only five minutes of added time helped, although that did give Fleetwood the chance to finally find a way through as a Josh Earl header from a corner put a dent in Wanderers’ goals-against column – if not their superb start to the season.
Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Almeida Santos, Iredale; Thomason (Sheehan HT); Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Mendes Gomes 70), Dempsey (Morley 60), Williams (Ashworth 70); Charles, Adeboyejo (Nlundulu 70). Substitutes: Forrester, Jerome.
Booked: Thomason, Charles, Ashworth
Sent off: Charles
Fleetwood Town: Lynch; Rooney, Johnston, Nsiala, Earl, Hayes (Mayor HT); Vela, Robertson (Patterson 74), Broom (Quitirna 80); Marriott (Graydon HT), Omochere (Asamoah 80). Substitutes: McMullan, Teale.
Booked: Johnston, Broom, Omochere, Vela
Referee: Tom Neild
Attendance: 18,485 (312)