Hat-trick man Gregory saves the day

A Lee Gregory hat-trick at Fleetwood tonight ensured Wednesday’s hopes of a play-off place will be in our own hands when we take on Portsmouth in the league season finale at a sellout Hillsborough on Saturday.

Gregory put us ahead in the first half and then struck twice within a minute in the second period to make it 3-2 after the home side had hit back to take a 2-1 lead.

With one game now left for all in division one, the victory lifts us to fourth in the table on 82 points and with a goal difference of plus 25. Sunderland (plus 25 gd) are a place and a point behind us, with Plymouth in sixth on 80 points (plus 25 gd) and Wycombe in seventh also on 80 points (plus 23 gd).

While we entertain Portsmouth on Saturday, fixtures for the other sides chasing the remaining three play-off spots see Sunderland at Morecambe, Plymouth at home to MK Dons and Wycombe away to Burton.

We got off to the best possible start at Fleetwood with an excellent finish from Gregory after just four minutes, the striker shrugging off the challenge of a Fleetwood defender from Jack Hunt’s through ball and slotting past keeper Alex Cairns from just inside the box.

We continued to dominate and looked likely to add to the lead, Marvin Johnson’s low  cross from the left crying out for a finishing touch on 17 minutes.

However, a minute later the home side were back on level terms completely against the run of play … and all of our own making.

Jordan Storey got caught in possession inside the box as we tried to play out from the back, Sam Hutchinson blocked the resulting cross but Callum Camps drove the loose ball home from the edge of the box.

Bad went to worse on 34 minutes when we conceded a needless free kick on the right and when the ball came in, Joe Garner was left unmarked to head home.

We almost equalised two minutes later when Barry Bannan’s brilliant chip over the keeper and across goal came back off the joint of post and bar, Callum Paterson’s shot from the rebound deflected off a defender and onto the opposite upright and Gregory failed to connect with the ball in the resulting scramble.

We had the only ourselves to blame for trailing at the break, despite dominating the number of chances created and in possession.

Wednesday continued to dictate play after the break but rarely tested keeper Cairns, that is until Gregory sensationally struck twice inside 46 seconds

With 73 minutes gone, he met Massimo Luongo’s cross from the left with a firm close-range header to put us back on level terms

Then, Gregory immediately won possession of the ball as Fleetwood passed it back from the kick off, driving forward at the defence to the edge of the box and firing low past Cairns.

Fleetwood caused the occasional scare as they sought an equaliser but sub Josh Windass went close to adding a fourth for Wednesday and we saw out what amounted to seven minutes of added time to secure a crucial three points in that tense battle for the play-off places.

Peacock-Farrell, Hunt, Palmer, Storey, Hutchinson, Johnson (Windass 62), Byers (Mendez-Laing 62), Luongo, Bannan, Paterson, Gregory (Dunkley 89). Unused subs. Wildsmith, Gibson, Kamberi, Berahino.







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