Frustrated Hull manager Grant McCann admitted a sloppy second half performance cost his team the chance to go top Sky Bet League One.
Two goals from 23-year-old Harvey Saunders and further strikes from midfielder Callum Camps and defender Sam Stubbs saw McCann’s misfiring side well-beaten on the Fylde coast.
“We didn’t see the second half coming to be honest, we simply weren’t good enough,” said McCann. “We were not at the races.
“We lost too many individual battles all over the pitch and collectively we just weren’t good enough.
“The biggest disappointment is that we gifted them three goals.
“Fleetwood were better than us in the second half, but we didn’t help ourselves.
“Sloppy is probably a good way to describe our defending, particularly in the second half. We’ve beaten ourselves.”
McCann, whose side saw their four-game unbeaten run emphatically ended and conceded their first league goal in 377 minutes of football, added: “We didn’t create any clear-cut chances in the second-half, everything was just over-hit.
“Free-kicks were over-hit. Crosses were over-hit. It is a shorter pitch, but that’s not an excuse because we should have better quality than that.
“We just weren’t good enough in the second half. Fleetwood did play well, but we’ve beaten ourselves.
“But one thing I said to the players after the game is that this will be a bit of a reality-check for some of them.
“This is a tough league and it’s how we respond now. This is the first bump in the road for us and I’m sure there’s going to many more, but it’s how we respond.”
Skipper George Honeyman cancelled out Saunders’ 17th-minute opener to leave the match finely-poised at 1-1 at half-time, but the hosts ran riot after the break.
Camps netted two minutes after the resumption and Saunders, who grabbed an EFL Trophy hat-trick on Tuesday, and Stubbs also found the back of the net as Joey Barton’s team climbed 15 places to seventh in the table ahead of this weekend’s other matches.
Jubilant Fleetwood manager Barton said: “I’m delighted, especially off the back of four defeats.
“I just felt something had changed in the build-up to this game, I felt my lads had got themselves together and were ready to deliver a performance.
“In my tenure here, especially last year, we’ve been very good against the bigger sides in the division. That’s what gave us the platform to build a promotion push last season.
“They (Hull) hadn’t conceded a goal coming in and were riding a crest of a wave. But my challenge to the lads was to get them on the back foot.
“They were probably fortunate to get out of that 4-1, we could have won 5-1, 6-1 or 7-1.
“We could have had a penalty if not two – and their keeper has to make two really good saves.
“I’m really, really proud of the lads and pleased with the performance. That gives us a platform now to kickstart our campaign.
“They’re a good side and come down from the Championship, so that’s a good result for us.”