Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s finished off the Youth Alliance season in style as they beat Salford City 4-1 at Highbury on Friday afternoon.
Cian Hayes was pivotal in the young Cods taking the lead in the game late on in the first half and, eventually, found the back of the net just before the break, with Shaun Sithole adding a second soon after from range.
Hayes added a third in the second half after dribbling through a crowd and slotting it under the goalkeeper, with Tom Shepherd scoring a late consolation goal for travelling side. With seconds to go, Danny Edwards added a fourth to finish off the tie.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors as Anton Smith stood over a free-kick in the seventh minute and played it into the Fleetwood box, towards Ben Rydel, but his header went high and wide of the goal.
A couple of minutes later, Town had a chance of their own as Billy Batch brilliantly took down a lobbed pass from the middle, before finding Ben Thompson on the wing. He then crossed the ball to Enoch Takpe, who headed over from close range.
The young Cods troubled the Salford goalkeeper soon after as Takpe slid Covy Smith in on a one-on-one inside the opposition’s box, but Brad Rose was a match for it, pushing it out for a corner. Brad Rose was called into action seconds later as well but saved well.
Halfway through the half, Simon Wiles’ side carried on the pressure on the visitors’ goal as Hayes cut in from the right and earned Town a corner. Josh Feeney rose highest and got on the end of that set-piece, which needed to be stopped.
Just before the half, Town pressed again through Cian Hayes on the right, who forced a save from the goalkeeper, but he could only parry it to C.Smith, whose header was brilliantly stopped. Hayes broke the deadlock seconds later, converting a low cross from close range.
Fleetwood doubled their lead in the 44th minute as Sithole picked up the ball 20-yards away from the goal and smashed it into the bottom left corner, easily beating Rose.
Hayes added another just after the break as he played a short corner routine with Batch on the left, before tapping it through two players and drilling his strike under the goalkeeper, extending the lead to three.
Two substitutes for Fleetwood linked up on the hour mark as Joe Collins collected the ball on the right, played the ball across the 18-yards line to Edwards, who forced a diving save from the goalkeeper.
Salford did pull one back with 12 minutes to go as Shepherd was played in 18-yards out, and composed himself before slotting the ball into the bottom right corner, past Johnathon Borwick.
With seconds to go, Feeney did brilliantly to dispossess Rydel in the midfield and storm forwards. He played the ball to Edwards on the left, who found the back of the net with his strike.
Town XI: Borwick (GK), Bird, Batch, Feeney, Patterson, Smith (Edwards 61’), Thompson (Raffie 61’), Takpe (Barratt 70’), Sithole (Collins 61’), Hayes, Wilson (C).
Subs not used: Eastham (GK).
Salford XI: Rose (GK), Kirnon, Collins (Shepherd 45’), Rydel, Timmis, Jones (Berry 45’), Bartram, Smith, Dedro (Lescott 68’), Walsh (Carr 45’), Finley (Ghaly 68’).
Subs not used: N/A