Stalemate forces replay in First Round tie
Fleetwood travelled down to Southport on Monday but could only gain a first round replay after a goalless draw in the Emirates FA Cup.
The closest attempts on goal came from the Cod Army, when Jimmy Ryan’s free kick was forced onto the bar by Magnus Norman and Cian Bolger’s last minute header nearly stole the win.
Uwe Rosler made three changes to his side which lost against Bristol Rovers, including new signing Godswill Ekpolo, who joined the club after his youth career at F.C Barcelona.
Southport’s top goal scorer Jamie Allen was set to face his old side, as he previously played for Fleetwood before being loaned out and subsequently sold.
David Ball and Jack Sowebry were also in the starting line-up, in replace of Eggert Jonsson, Ashley Hunter and Conor McLaughlin, who is away on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Town started the game positive with confident, quick passing up and down the pitch, which led to Chris Long taking the first strike on goal but it flew high and wide.
The home team had the first shot on target after Bolger couldn’t control the ball, and Andrai Jones took his chance but Chris Neal was on hand to save.
Long nearly gave something for the travelling fans to cheer about in the 24th minute, when he was nearly one on one but the linesman called offside.
The Cod Army’s best chance of the first half came from Ball gaining control in box, turning, and setting up Bobby Grant but his shot was driven wide from just outside the box.
A change of assistant referee and yellow cards for Godswill and Caton, who unnecessarily kicked the ball away, were the highlights of the last 15 minutes.
The second half started just like this first, with precise forward passing but no end product for either side.
Caton had the first attempt on goal after driving at the heart of the back line, but his strike wasn’t good enough to beat Neal.
Town countered and won a dangerous free kick just outside the box, from which Josh Thompson saw yellow for his late challenge.
Ryan took the free kick and forced Magnus Norman to push the ball onto the bar, who was nearly beaten by Martyn Woolford’s rebound shot but it went just over.
Three attempts in quick succession soon followed from Hunter, Woolford and Grant looked promising but were saved, with Grant’s half volley going over the bar.
Southport fans from the Jack Carr stand threw a yellow flare onto the pitch, forcing Darren England to stop the play in the 77th minute, and was shortly followed by a red flare seemingly aimed at Neal.
Allen was caught offside with a clear run on goal not too long after, but if the pass through was a little sooner he would have been through.
It took until the 91st minute for another shot on target, when Devante Cole’s run split the defence and his shot needed a good save from Norman.
A corner in the dying moments in the game nearly stole the win for the away side, but Bolger’s attempt was just to the right of the post.
FTFC Line up: Neal, Ekpolo, Pond (C), Bolger, Bell, Sowerby, Ryan, Dempsey, Grant, Ball, Long. Subs: Carins (GK), Jonsson, Eastham, Nirennold, Hunter (ON FOR BALL), Woolford (ON FOR SOWERBY), Cole (ON FOR GRANT).
SFC Line up: Norman, Higgins, Howe, Thompson, Ashton, Lussey, Weeks, Nolan, Caton, Allen, A Jones. Subs: Ferguson (ON FOR LUSSEY), Cofie (ON FOR KATON), Gray, Grimes, Crump, Jones, White.
Referee: Darren England
Assistant Referees: Paul Graham, Graeme Fyvie
Fourth Official: Geoff Eltringham