Fleetwood are through to the semi-finals of the Youth Alliance Cup - Northern Section
by Sam Gilliland
Fleetwood are through to the semi-finals of the Youth Alliance Cup - Northern Section -following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wrexham.
The young Cod Army had to play the last half-hour of the match with nine men after Michael Smith and Jake Parker had both been sent off, but Tom Peterson’s early strike was enough to send them through.
Fleetwood were watched by scouts from Premier League clubs Manchester City and Everton, and Championship sides Blackburn and Bolton on a sunny afternoon at Lytham Cricket Club.
First-team players Barry Nicholson and Jamie Milligan were also in attendance, as Town took the lead in the 17th minute.
Peterson was played in on goal to go one-on-one with Wrexham goalkeeper Louis Gray, before finding the net at the near post with a left-foot finish.
The visitors had their best effort of the first-half just three minutes later, when Jonathan Royle fired over from range after good link-up play with Andy Basco.
Fleetwood found themselves down to ten men on 33 minutes when Michael Smith raised an arm at Wrexham’s Ross Ankens, leaving the referee with no choice but to show him the red card.
The Cods could have doubled their lead despite being a man down, as Keano Deacon crossed into the penalty area from the right, but Peterson was unable to find the corner of the net after beating the goalkeeper to the ball.
Town were good value for the win, even with ten men, but found themselves defending deeper and deeper after the hour mark, when Parker was also shown a red card.
The midfielder was initially given a yellow card for a collision with Royle, before being issued a second yellow for an altercation with the referee, leaving Fleetwood with an uphill task.
Despite late pressure from the visitors, the young Cod Army were able to hold on for the win and reach the cup semi-finals.
Midfielders Parker and Smith will receive bans for their dismissals in the match, but should be available for the game against Macclesfield Town on Saturday 9th February.