Fleetwood Town’s Under 18s earned the local bragging rights with a 2-0 victory over Blackpool at Poolfoot Farm on Saturday morning.
Town striker Sam O’Halleron opened the scoring in the first half, cutting back to evade two Blackpool defenders, and curling a shot in the far corner of the net.
It was a strong battle between the two sides, and a second goal from O’Halleron meant that Fleetwood came out on top, picking up their first win of their campaign in the Youth Alliance League, after drawing their season opener with Walsall last weekend.
The match was played at a high tempo from the off, and it was Blackpool who had the first chance of the match after just two minutes. A free-kick was delivered from the left, but striker Owen Watkinson saw his effort go over the bar.
Fleetwood’s first chance of the game came less than a minute later, with O’Halleron played through on goal, and his low shot went just wide of Blackpool goalkeeper Harvey Simson’s near post.
It didn't take long for O’Halleron to get his name on the score sheet. With just seven minutes gone, the forward picked up the ball in the 18-yard box and cut back onto his right foot, before curling a shot into the far corner of the net.
Town had a chance to double their lead soon after, with central midfielder Jamie Cooke picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box, before his effort was dragged wide of the post.
Blackpool had a chance to level through defender Tom Williams. Winger Nathan Shaw whipped in a dangerous ball at the far post, but Williams’ header went just wide. Blackpool forwards Watkinson and Emil Jaaskelainen linked up well, but failed to create any more clear-cut chances in the first half.
As Blackpool pushed for an equaliser, Fleetwood had opportunities to break on the counter-attack, with Shayden Morris looking threatening. Just before half time, Town nearly doubled their lead, as midfielder Jay Matete drove forward with the ball and played it through to Morris, but his strike crashed back off the crossbar.
As the second half got underway, Town had an opportunity through O’Halleron, but his effort was well saved by Simson. Cooke then linked up well with midfield partner Anthony Williams, and both players put in a solid performance throughout the match. Williams played the ball into Cooke, who skipped past his marker and hit a powerful long-range effort just over the bar.
Fleetwood had the majority of possession in the second half, and they almost found the net once again through O’Halleron. Full-back Ryan Rydel took the corner, and his cross found the young striker, before his header at the near post glanced just over.
Williams then drove into the 18-yard box with a powerful run and squared the ball to Morris, whose effort was off target. Rydel then delivered another dangerous ball, but centre back Alkeo Bani, who put in a strong performance alongside captain James Hill, failed to capitalise.
Town had numerous opportunities to get the all-important second goal, and their pressure finally paid off when O’Halleron scored a well-deserved second. Cooke capped off a fine performance with an assist, as his free-kick lead to a scramble in the six-yard box, before O’Halleron poked the ball in for his and Town’s second of the game.
With minutes to go, Town hit the bar for a second time. Cooke curled a stunning free kick over the wall from 20 yards, but he saw his effort bounce back off the bar. Blackpool pushed to get back into the game, but the resilience of Town across the whole pitch saw them through.
Simon Wiles’ side saw the game out to pick up a hard-earned derby victory, and their first win of the season.