Fleetwood progress to face Liverpool in final
16-year-old Billy Crellin was the hero for Fleetwood Town’s Development Squad, saving two penalties in the shoot-out as Town advanced to the Lancashire FA Senior Cup Final.
Fleetwood won the shoot-out 4-3 at Ewood Park, following a cagey 1-1 draw on the night.
Rovers took the lead on the hour mark through substitute Stefan Mols, but an Alex Reid header cancelled out his strike just seven minutes later.
The tightly contested tie moved to penalties were Crellin saved from Willem Tomlinson and Lewis Mansell sending Paul Murray’s side into the final.
The first chance fell to Fleetwood in the 3rd minute when a trialist saw a shot inside the area well saved before the rebound fell kindly to Reid, who thumped an effort against the post.
Almost immediately the home side registered their first attempt on goal, when Lewis Mansell forced Crellin into a low save.
It was a frantic start to proceedings and in the 6th minute Ashley Nadesan seized on a mistake in the Rovers back four and saw his goal bound effort deflected behind for a corner.
A succession of Town corners were to follow with Nathan Sheron going closest with a header which was saved well by the quick reactions of Andrew Fisher.
The game, which had settled down through the middle of the opening period, was brought back to life by an electric run from Elliot Osborne, who skipped past his man and into the box before his low cross was turned onto the post by a Blackburn defender.
Jimmy Ryan completed 45 minutes as part of his recovery from injury; he was replaced at the break by a trialist.
Fleetwood had the first effort on goal in the second period as an excellent touch and control from Nadesan allowed him to shoot but his tame effort was stopped by Fisher.
Town fell behind on the hour mark when a clearance fell to the feet of lively substitute Mols, who took one touch before firing a shot into the bottom corner.
The visitors responded well and restored parity just six minutes later, when Joe Maguire’s swinging cross was met by the head of Reid who glanced a header into the far corner, beyond Fisher.
It had turned into an end-to-end affair at Ewood and Lewis Thompson was next to go close with a stinging strike that whistled just wide of the post.
The game moved into four minutes of added time but neither side could find a way through, so it would be a penalty shootout to decide who would advance to the final.
Kieran Wallace stepped up first and blasted his effort home, before Crellin went the right way to deny Tomlinson.
Nadesan saw his well-struck penalty stopped before a string of successful conversions left it at 4-3 to Fleetwood.
Up-stepped Mansell who was denied by the out stretched arm of Crellin to send Fleetwood through after a pulsating cup-tie.
Blackburn: Fisher (GK); Travis, Thompson, Tomlinson, Magloire, Grayson, Thomson, Hardcastle, Mansell, Butterworth, Rankin-Costello.
Subs: Doyle, Powell, Mols, Wright, Evans.
Fleetwood: Crellin (GK); Trialist, Maguire, Holgate, Sheron, Wallace, Ryan, Osborne, Nadesan, Sowerby, Reid.
Subs: Turner, Kerrigan, Trialist, Mooney, Garner.