Youth team come from two goals down to earn a point
Fleetwood made it four league games unbeaten after coming back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw away at Wigan Athletic in the North-West Youth Alliance League.
Town’s under 18’s battled back from two goals down at the break and were unlucky not to get all three points after second half goals from Gerard Garner and Dan Mooney meant a share of the spoils in what was an entertaining encounter.
The first half of the game was a largely even contest with Wigan enjoying large spells of possession and Fleetwood looking dangerous on the break having set up in their usual counter attacking style.
The first real chance of the match saw Harry Turner tested in the Cod Army goal with a powerful Wigan effort from outside the box but Turner stood firm to make a smart stop by beating the strike away and out of danger. Fleetwood’s best chance of the half saw Mooney penetrate down the left wing and set up Garner on the edge of the area but he had his placed effort saved by the Wigan goalkeeper down low to his right.
minute. It was a well worked goal as the Latics had patiently kept the ball before passing through the lines to find the striker’s feet and he set the ball back to his teammate in space who scored from around 25 yards out. In truth, it was fortunate to find the net as the ball bobbled cruelly over the outstretched arms of the diving Turner but nevertheless Wigan had gone ahead.rdThe breakthrough came for the home side in the 43
Less than two minutes later and the Latics had doubled their lead courtesy of a superb left footed volley. A cross from the Wigan right saw Harrison Holgate head the ball out of the area but the dropping ball fell invitingly for the first-time volleyed effort and it was dispatched expertly from just outside the area.
Two Wigan goals right on the stroke of half time could have seen Fleetwood heads drop but the manner of refusing to accept defeat which has characterised Nathan Rooney’s side in recent weeks saw the away side come out fighting in the second half.
minute that Fleetwood managed to half the deficit and it was a team goal of real quality. The move began with a goal kick and saw Turner play out from the back to Holgate. The composed centre back found the feet of Liam Collings who had dropped deep from midfield. His smart footwork and change of pace took him past two opposition players and play the ball into Gerard Garner. Garner laid the ball off to substitute Jack Bishop who carried the ball forward with real impetus whilst his teammates streaked forward in numbers. A clever run across the front of the Wigan backline saw Mooney receive a perfectly weighted pass from Bishop and ingeniously flick the ball through his own legs into the path of Garner. The young striker showed great skill and composure to nutmeg the defender running across his path then slot the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper and into the bottom right corner of the goal. It was a truly impressive team goal.thIt was in the 67
The momentum was with Fleetwood and they capitalised just over five minutes later with Mooney restoring parity. It came from a Fleetwood throw-in in the final third of the pitch. After a neat one-two involving Mooney and Fleetwood’s left back, Garner received a chipped pass and set the ball back to Liam Collings on the Fleetwood left. Collings’s incisive pass into the feet of the ever-lively Mooney; allowed the forward to receive the ball and spin all in one motion to turn his marker and get a shot off from a narrow angle. The power in Mooney’s strike was too much for the Wigan goalkeeper to stop and despite the best efforts of the defender on the goal line, he could only serve to deflect the ball over the line and allow Fleetwood to draw level.
Both teams were looking to win the game in the closing stages and Wigan came close with Turner having to make a good save from a strike from distance. However, it was Fleetwood who had the best chance to claim the victory on 86 minutes as Garner got behind the Wigan backline to latch on to Holgate’s ball over the top. Garner’s shot was smartly saved by the Wigan goalkeeper but he could only parry the ball away and the rebound was followed up by Mooney. With the goal gaping and hearts in mouths, Mooney slid in at full stretch managed to divert the ball towards the goal but his effort went agonisingly the wrong side of the post and only rippled the netting behind the goal much to the disappointment of all the onlookers supporting the away side.
It had been an entertaining match and both teams had gone toe to toe in what was an even contest yet few would have denied that Fleetwood would have been worthy winners had they managed to come away with the victory on the evidence of how the second half had panned out. Fleetwood are now four league games unbeaten and whilst they still have a way to go to emulate their first team colleagues, the whole club can be proud of the spirit and mentality in the camp.
After the game, head coach Nathan Rooney spoke of his thoughts on the game and outlined his pleasure at many aspects of his side’s performance:
“I felt in the first half we were too deep and that we gave Wigan too much respect. However, in the second half we got the information across to the lads and our strengths once again came out when the game opened up.”
Reserving special praise for his sides attacking prowess, Rooney commented: “Gerard Garner and Dan Mooney were once again on target for the boys and also we probably should have won the game in the end; with regards to the chances we’ve made in the last ten minutes of the game.”
“There was a great reaction and a great togetherness and the boys did the club very proud, particularly in the second half.”
Fleetwood:Turner, Kerrigan, Holgate, Baines, Trialist; Unsworth (Bishop 58’), Collings, Shorrock; Dodd, Garner, Mooney.
Unused Subs: Clayton, Bridge.