Garner hat-trick enough to beat Stanley
Fleetwood Town under 18’s recorded their second win in four days as they comfortably beat Accrington Stanley 4-1 in the North West Youth Alliance League.
A Gerard Garner hat trick - including two late goals – and a Alex Dodd strike sealed the victory for Nathan Rooney’s side.
Both teams struggled to impose themselves on the game leading to a cagey opening as the weather played its part; the first chance of the afternoon came Fleetwood’s way as Ben Williams drove his low shot just wide of the post.
In the 21st minute, Williams registered the game’s first shot on target as he forced Nathan Holland in the Accrington net into a good diving save.
Six minutes later Town again went close as good work down the right by Dan Mooney set Dom Kerrigan free and his deflected shot flashed across the face of goal and out for a corner.
Fleetwood were ramping up the pressure on the home side and it told in the 29th minute when Garner’s saved shot fell straight to Dodd, who tapped home into an empty net to make it 1-0.
Just seven minutes later the hosts drew level as a quick break away led to a corner, from which Niall Watson looped a header past Billy Crellin.
The game had suddenly developed into an open affair and four minutes before half time the Fleetwood lead was restored when a sloppy kick from Holland fell straight to Dodd who slid in Garner, who opened up his body before firing high into the back of the net.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first as both sides struggled to make their mark on proceedings, a flurry of fouls and a couple of injuries prevented any flow to the game.
In the 64th minute Stanley’s Josh Himani struck the post with a long range effort, before the lively Dodd slipped in Mooney for the visitors who saw his shot smothered - Fleetwood continued to look good value for their lead but survived a penalty appeal with ten minutes left on the clock.
As Accrington piled forward, Fleetwood were able to break and strike a killer blow in the 88th minute, Mooney raced away before playing in substitute Connor Finlayson who’s shot fell into the path of Garner as he tapped home his second of the match.
Seconds later Mooney raced up the field again, before unselfishly squaring the ball to teammate Garner who completed his hat trick, rounding off a fine day for Rooney’s men with a 4-1 scoreline.
Fleetwood:Crellin (GK), Kerrigan, Baines, Holgate, Williams, Bishop, Unsworth, Dodd, Collings, Mooney, Garner.
Subs: Turner, Finlayson, Abubakar.