Fleetwood Youths fell to a controversial 2-1 defeat at Preston in the North West Youth Alliance.
By Sam Gilliland
The Fleetwood youth team fell to a controversial 2-1 defeat at Preston in the Football League Youth Alliance.
The home side scored a second half winner from a quick free kick which should have been given in Fleetwood’s favour.
North End’s Jack Sowerby appeared to climb all over Town midfielder Michael Smith in an aerial challenge, but referee Steve Taylor chose to penalise the Fleetwood youngster.
Sowerby then slotted through striker Josh Brownhill from the resulting free kick, who beat Oliver Martin at his near post.
The young Cod Army started strongly and created the game’s first opening. Lanre Olapade played through Kurt Willoughby down the right of the area, but the forward could only drag his effort wide of the far post.
A corner from captain Richard Wright then caused panic in the Preston defence as the ball bounced onto the arm of David Kuba Kuba inside the box, but the referee waved away Town’s protests for a penalty.
Fleetwood’s corners continued to cause problems, and one paid off in the 22nd minute. Wright was able to plant one right on top of the penalty spot, and centre back Max Cartwright met the ball unchallenged give the visitors the lead.
Preston should have hit back only ten minutes later when winger Sam Livesley broke down the right. The Lilywhite pulled his cross back for Sowerby in front of goal, but the midfielder fluffed his effort wide of the left post.
North End finally found the net a minute later. Livesley again broke through down the right and fired across goal to find Brandon Zibaka for a near post tap in.
It could have got worse for Fleetwood in 1st half injury time when Zibaka was brought down by Oliver Martin in the area for a Preston penalty. The Fleetwood keeper made up for his error though with a low stop from the striker’s spot kick.
Town were put under intense pressure after the restart and cleared one off the line thanks to last-ditch defending by James Cairns.
Winger Sam Livesley then fired one off the Fleetwood crossbar after holding off the challenge of Max Cartwright inside the box.
Preston grabbed their winner in the 59th minute when the young Cod Army were caught sleeping from Sowerby’s quick free kick.
Josh Brownhill applied the finish from a quick bit of thinking which left Fleetwood needing to score.
The game opened up as a result and Town created one half chance to nick a point when Willoughby slid in at the near post and forced a save from Steve James.
Neither side could find another goal though which left Fleetwood fuming over the incident which led to the Lilywhites winner.
The young Cod Army will get their chance to make amends in the match at Springfields on 1 December, 2012, in the 2nd round of the Northern Section Youth Alliance Cup.
-The game was played at Preston's training ground.