Town beat holders
Fleetwood Town claimed their second Sky Bet League 1 scalp of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as they defeated holders Crewe Alexandra at Highbury this evening.
The Cod Army, who saw off the challenge of Tranmere Rovers in the previous round courtesy of a Jamille Matt brace were looking to cause another upset.
David Ball put the Cod Army in front in the 40th minute as he latched onto Gareth Evans’ through ball and curled home past Steve Phillips, while former Preston North End striker Jon Parkin made it two just before the break.
Nathan Pond then ensured there would be no way back for the holders as he made it three with a strike from the edge of the area a minute after the interval, before Matty Blair, who came off the bench in the 71st minute, made it four for the Lancashire side late on.
Alexander made six changes to the side that defeated Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday with Mark Roberts, Gareth Evans, Jon Parkin, Junior Brown, Conor McLaughlin and Ryan Crowther all named in the starting eleven.
The home side started positively and should have seen themselves a goal up after just two minutes, as a poor back pass from Alexandra’s Mark Ellis saw Jon Parkin through on goal, but he saw his effort saved by Steve Phillips.
Stewart Murdoch then stung the palms of Phillips a minute later as his twenty five yard strike was tipped away.
In response, the lively Byron Moore missed a great chance to put his side ahead as he found himself unmarked at the back post, but fired over from close range.
Some good midfield play by Crewe’s Max Clayton found Matt Tootle on the left hand side, and his cross in-turn picked out Anthony Grant, but he scuffed his left footed strike wide of the post.
On the 27th minute mark, Alex’s Oliver Turton’s neat half volley went agonizingly wide of Scott Davies’ goal, while at the other end Gareth Evans broke inside from the left and unleashed a fierce effort which skimmed the far post.
Graham Alexander’s troops then took the lead five minutes before the interval as a superb defence splitting ball by Gareth Evans played in David Ball who curled his strike around Steve Phillips in the visitor’s goal and into the top corner.
The advantage was doubled three minutes later, and Gareth Evans was once again the architect as his cross from the left found the head of Jon Parkin who scored his second goal in the space of four days.
A minute after the restart and Fleetwood found themselves three goals to the good. A long ball forward by Stewart Murdoch was chested down by Nathan Pond on the edge of the box, and he turned his marker before firing home at the near post.
Scott Davies came to his team’s rescue in the 52nd minute as he pulled off a tremendous one handed save to deny Adam Dugdale from getting Alex back in the game.
Anthony Grant was the next to go close for the visitors as his fizzed strike went over the bar.
David Ball nearly added his second of the night midway through the second half as he saw his low twenty yard hit fly inches wide.
Crewe’s Matt Tootle then sent a curling free kick narrowly wide of Scott Davies’ far post after Nathan Pond was adjudged to have fouled just outside the box.
Byron Moore’s set-piece on the right hand side was met by an unmarked Adam Dugdale some six yards out, but he somehow sent his header horribly wide.
Crewe continued to look for a way back into the game, and Australian Bradden Inman was the next to have a go, but his shot from inside the area was tipped away by Scott Davies.
Matty Blair rubbed salt into the Crewe wounds in the 89th minute as he made it four for the Cod Army. Stewart Murdoch’s low cross from the right hand side was met by Blair who poked home at the front post to send his side through to the third round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.