Fleetwood 2-3 Aldershot
By David Mitchell
Christmas came early for Aldershot Town who capitalised on two defensive errors from Fleetwood Town in the first half to defy the current League 2 positions and claim a place in the Third Round of the FA Cup.
Goals from Junior Brown and David Ball could not prevent a third successive defeat for Fleetwood after two goals from Danny Hylton and one from Peter Vincenti killed hopes of a longer Cup run.
After fourteen consecutive matches, defender Youl Mawéné was ruled out with a broken bone in his foot. His replacement was Alex Marrow, making his first start for five weeks. Otherwise, the Fleetwood team lined up as for the last-gasp defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge seven days ago. Shots manager, Dean Holdsworth, gave a debut in midfield to Michael Hector, on loan from Reading, and there was a return after injury for striker Craig Reid.
Marrow was kept busy on his defensive debut as Aldershot pushed forward in the early stages. Town responded with a long-range effort from Barry Ferguson and a fine strike from Alan Goodall, following a foul on Damien Johnson by Hylton. Jamie Young tipped the defender’s free kick wide for a corner in the eighth minute.
A second free kick two minutes later led to the opening goal. Goodall tested the Shots defence with a dipping service and Brown stole in to heap more misery on the visitors after scoring twice in the 4-1 league victory in September. Town continued to press forward but the visitors were back on level terms in the 18th
minute. A mistake by Marrow left Hylton in space to strike a left foot shot from the edge of the area past Scott Davies.
Aldershot pressed forward for a second and there were opportunities as Town’s defence suffered some anxious moments. Town countered on 26 minutes, the ball moving end to end as Davies’s kick was nodded by Brown, drifting right, into the path of Ball. Ball’s volley was caught two-handed to his right by Young.
It was an isolated attack as Aldershot continued to push forward, providing further evidence that their better form has been on the road this season. Fleetwood gave the ball away too easily and Davies was called on to tip a fierce shot from Kieron Cadogan over the bar to safety after half an hour.
There was warm applause after 36 minutes as Tom Barkhuizen struck a fine shot over the top from distance, but also frustration from the Cod Army as Fleetwood were finding it difficult to create any opportunities in the final third. It took a fine save from Davies, tipping wide a Peter Vincenti free kick in the 40th
minute, to keep his side level but he was powerless in added time as Vincenti gratefully accepted a stray pass from Goodall before striking a sumptuous shot from 25 yards into Davies’s left corner to give his side a deserved half time lead.
Jamie Milligan replaced Johnson after the break and had an early chance to make a free kick count, forcing Young to punch the ball away under pressure from his own defender in the 47th
minute. Fleetwood started the second period positively, playing towards their favoured Memorial Stand end. Steven Gillespie returned from injury, replacing Barry Nicholson in the 57th
Shaun Beeley was looking for every opportunity to come forward, linking with the busy Barkhuizen as much of the movement went down the right. Fleetwood went close twice around the hour mark. The second, from a Milligan corner, resulted in treatment for Goodall and Troy Brown. Milligan struck a free kick over the bar in the 69th
minute and, before play restarted, Josh Payne replaced Reid. The Shots defended their lead in numbers, determined to lay claim to ball 64 in Sunday’s Third Round draw.
The Shots took a firm hold on the game with a third goal after 74 minutes. Hylton shrugged off the attentions of McNulty and the advancing Davies to finish exquisitely from the right edge of the area. The Fleetwood skipper left the field soon after, replaced by Dean Howell. Cadogan was replaced by Robbie Sinclair for Aldershot.
Fleetwood kept the game alive with a goal in the 87th
minute. A Marrow shot took a deflection, deceiving Young, and Ball followed up to bundle his fifth goal of the season over the line. Doug Bergqvist came on for Hylton. It was so nearly a dramatic climax as Milligan set up a shot on his favoured left foot, the ball going wide to the right. Young clutched on to a Howell effort and the spoils went south.
TEAM: Davies, Beeley, McNulty – capt (Howell 77), Marrow, Goodall, Nicholson (Gillespie 57), Johnson (Milligan 45), Ferguson, Brown, Barkhuizen, Ball