Young Town side edged out by strong Saddlers side
Fleetwood Town’s under 18’s were narrowly edged out by second in the table Walsall, losing 2-1 on Saturday in the North West Youth Alliance League.
Town, who were unbeaten in their last six matches, put in a spirited performance defending staunchly for long periods before falling behind just after half time.
Nathan Rooney’s side responded well and drew level when Ben Unsworth headed home in the 58th minute.
But with 20 minutes remaining the visitors regained the lead and held on to take all three points at Poolfoot Farm.
Fleetwood made a bright start in the sunshine as Dan Mooney and Jack Bishop probed down both wings but saw their dangerous crosses turned behind.
The first shot on target came from the visitors, but Harry Turner in the Town goal reacted well to a powerfully struck low drive, keeping the Saddlers at bay.
Just three minutes later the goalkeeper was back in the thick of the action, after the Walsall pressure caused a mix up in the Fleetwood defence, Turner back peddled to tip a chipped shot over the crossbar.
Fleetwood’s first effort on goal came in the 20th minute; Mooney and Liam Collings combined well, teeing-up Gerard Garner who fired a blistering effort narrowly over.
With the game moving towards half time, a superb last-ditch tackle from Unsworth denied the Saddlers. After clever play the ball dropped free in the box but the midfielder intercepted well, just as the Walsall front man was pulling the trigger.
After battling hard to head into the break level, Fleetwood’s work was undone as Walsall took the lead almost straight from the second half kick off.
A foul was conceded on the edge of the area before the ball was swung into the box and a header glanced into the top corner from full back Cody Fisher.
The Walsall lead was almost doubled just seconds later, the visitors raced away down the left hand side forcing the excellent Turner into another save down low.
Connor Finlayson was introduced as Town tried to find their way back into the game, and they did in the 58th minute when a deep Garner corner was powered home off the head of Unsworth, as the midfielder rose above all.
The game opened up after that, with both teams creating lots of half chances, but it was Walsall who regained the lead in the 72nd minute following a good move on the left hand side, which saw the ball cut back to Mitchel Candlin who stroked it into the bottom corner.
The visitors almost added a third late on but were once again denied by Turner who rushed off his line to make a terrific one on one save with his feet.
Fleetwood continued to press forward as the clock ticked down but couldn’t find the equaliser that their efforts deserved.
Fleetwood: Turner GK; Kerrigan, Baines, Holgate, Rydell; Unsworth, Dodd, Collings; Bishop, Mooney, Garner. Subs (used): Finlayson, O’Hallaran.