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19 March 2016

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Fleetwood Town 0-2 Barnsley

A second half own goal from Joe Davis and a header from sub Josh Scowen sealed all three points for Barnsley at Fleetwood.

Fleetwood Town manager Steven Pressley made one change from Tuesday night’s game versus Walsall

Striker Shola Ameobi returned to the starting line-up, replacing youngster Ashley Hunter. New signing Stefan Scougall was named on the Town substitutes bench alongside the returning Antoni Sarcevic.

Meanwhile, the visitors from Yorkshire, lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Sam Winnall and Manchester United youngster Ashley Fletcher leading the front line.

After making his first league start for Fleetwood against Walsall in midweek, midfielder Thomas Grant did enough to retain his starting place against the Tykes.

With eight minutes on Kevin Wright’s clock, Grant was only a fraction away from scoring his first goal in English football, hitting the side netting from just inside the penalty area, after a perfectly weighted through ball by Eggert Jonsson.

The same man went through again 12 minutes later as David Ball spotted the young Scottish midfielder’s run infield from the left channel, one on one with the goalkeeper; Grant was denied by a smart save from Adam Davies.

Even though the game was evenly balanced, it was Fleetwood that were getting the sights on goal.  Beating Lloyd Isgrove to the ball, Amari’i Bell teed up Jimmy Ryan on the edge of the penalty area for a thunderous strike which was pushed away by Barnsley’s number one Davies. 

On the follow up, Ameobi was dragged to floor by Alfie Mawson just as he was about to head the ball, which looked a nailed on penalty, but the claims were waved away.

The foul on Ameobi that wasn’t given actually ended the striker’s game prematurely, as he had to be withdrawn through injury, Devante Cole coming on in his place.

Barnsley were nearly gifted a goal in the 38th minute, was sub Cole was outmuscled out of possession by Adam Hamill, the winger bared down on goal but his 25-yard effort dragged wide.

The visitors attacked again two minutes later, George Williams crossing from the left hand side for Fletcher to head over, a near carbon copy move for the goal Barnsley scored against Fleetwood in the JPT Northern Area Final first leg at Oakwell in January.

As the second half started, disaster kicked in for Fleetwood Town as Davis headed into his own net.

The goal came from a simple long punt upfield from Barnsley, and under severe pressure from Sam Winnall, Davis headed over goalkeeper Chris Maxwell who was coming out to claim the ball and into an empty net.

Davis nearly made amends for his mistake just two minutes later, as he got on the end of a Ryan free-kick from the left hand side, but his side footed effort was palmed away. 

The Cod Army didn’t let their heads drop after the Tykes’ fortunate equaliser, and Ball’s last contribution before being replaced by Sarcevic, was to fire over from a tight angle.

On the hour mark, Town went knocking again, as Ryan collected possession on the edge of the penalty area after Cole’s mazy run, the skipper crashing the ball against the side netting.

But with just 12 minutes remaining, Barnsley could have finished the game off when Adam Hamill rounded Maxwell but Conor McLaughlin got back in the nick of time to clear off the line.

Barnsley did confirm the points would head back to Yorkshire just five minutes later, as sub Scowen headed home Hamill's corner from the right hand side.

Town's next game is at Chesterfield next Saturday.

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