Youthful development side narrowly beaten at School RoadA second half penalty from Mark Buchan meant a youthful Fleetwood Town Development squad slipped to defeat away to Squires Gate at School Road on Tuesday night.
Buchan’s spot-kick from 12-yards in the closing 20 minutes was enough to decide the result, in a fixture played in glorious summer sunshine on the Lancashire coast.
In a squad made up of mainly U21 and U18 players, manager Nathan Rooney handed a start to Declan McManus, as well as new signings, goalkeeper Matty Urwin and Dion Charles.
The Cod Army looked to take the game to their North West Counties counterparts in the opening exchanges, and nearly found a way through when a neat passing interchange from McManus and youth team player Dan Mooney culminated in the home defence scrambling the ball to safety.
Scottish forward McManus would see his next sight of goal minutes later, when Charles’ surging run from the left wing was halted, a free-kick was awarded 25 yards from goal, up-stepped McManus, who struck his effort wide of the goal.
Up the other end, Urwin had to keep Town in it, after making a sprawling close range save from Ben Seear, following a corner from the right.
Fleetwood then had chances in quick succession, full-back Dom Kerrigan drove a long-range shot straight at Ben Fletcher, having advanced up-field, prior to Charles and Mooney both having efforts on goal, to no avail.
Just after the half-four mark, Ryan Tanser almost gave the non-league side the advantage. A long-ball was sprayed towards his direction, as he cut inside and from a tight angle, he looked to find the top corner, though his dipping drive went narrowly beyond the upright.
McManus, who played 45 minutes, had two further chances before the interval. He latched onto a pass by Kieran Dunbar, though arrowed a long-range shot which went past the post, before twisting and turning inside a crowded penalty area, but could only scoop the ball over the crossbar.
As play resumed after the break, Rooney changed some members of his side, as he looked to give a valuable second-half workout for his young playing squad.
Chances began to fall the way of Danny Penswick’s side, and on two occasions, Urwin has be at his best to beat away fierce shots on target.
Fleetwood tried to find a route to goal, however, despite the best attempts of the youngsters on show, the young Cod Army couldn’t find that all important breakthrough.
After holding out for 73 minutes, a penalty was awarded to Gate, Bunchan was tasked with responsibility from the spot, and he subsequently opened the scoring with a placed penalty, despite Urwin guessing correctly.
As Town looked to level up the scores, their Blackpool-based opponents had eyes to double their lead, Urwin had to be called upon to preserve the one goal deficit late on.
Fleetwood Town’s Development squad are next in action against Thornton Cleveleys on Thursday, 7pm kick-off.