Fleetwood Town’s Under 18s put in a superb display against Port Vale on Saturday, securing at emphatic 7-1 victory at Poolfoot Farm.
Town were in control from the off and were two goals ahead after just four minutes, with Jay Matete and Carl Johnston finding the net.
Katlego Mashigo and Shayden Morris got on the scoresheet before half-time, while striker Kian Makepeace scored a hat trick after the interval to complete the rout.
The Cod Army youngsters got off to the perfect start, finding the net after just two minutes. Ryan Rydel’s cross was met by James Hill, and his header was well saved by Vale goalkeeper Joe Collinge – but Matete made no mistake in smashing in the rebound from 12 yards.
Just two minutes later, Johnston doubled Town’s lead – he latched onto a through ball and his clinical finish beat Collinge. With just four minutes gone, Town were 2-0 ahead.
In tough conditions, Town were playing on a different level to their opponents from the off. Matete’s delicate flick through to Makepeace saw the striker with just defender Max Beeston to beat – he knocked the ball past the Vale centre-back and beat him for pace but Collinge got down well to collect.
Town played with confidence and flair with a two-goal lead behind them, and in the 23rd minute Makepeace made it 3-0. Matete caused the Vale defence all sorts of problems, and his clever reverse through ball found Makepeace, who made a smart run and finished well to score Town’s third.
Just three minutes later, Morris put Town four to the good with the goal of the match.
Anthony Williams, who put in a solid performance in central defence, fizzed the ball into Morris and, after controlling on the turn, he was off – he skipped past Beeston with ease and unleashed a stunning strike from outside the box, the ball flying past Collinge and into the top right corner of the net.
Town ran tirelessly to win back possession and were moving the ball with much more success than their opponents. A wonderful team move was then worked into Mashigo on the edge of the box – Matete layed the ball into his path but his shot went over.
Rydel was bursting forward on the left in typical fashion, and after his cross was deflected out for a corner, Town found a fifth before half time. Rydel’s corner wasn’t cleared by the Vale defence, the ball landed to Mashigo and he smashed in from six yards.
The away side replied immediately through midfielder Joe Berks, but the first half came to a close with Town going into the break with a 5-1 lead.
It would’ve been easy for Town to take their foot off the gas in the second half with such a comfortable lead to their name – but they kept the tempo high throughout the second half and were rewarded for it.
Rydel’s cross into the box was spilled by Collinge, Makepeace turned and smashed the ball low into the net to score his second and Town’s sixth.
Town made a triple substitution with Cian Hayes, Jamie Cooke and Sam Bird replacing Johnston, Dylan Boyle and Liam Goldsborough – and it almost instantly paid off.
Hayes ran at Jack Stevens on the left and flew past the Vale right-back, he then shot from a tight angle, trying to catch the goalkeeper out at the near post but it only found the side netting.
Morris was then replaced by Akiel Raffie, and just minutes later Town scored yet again as Hayes ran at the defence and was brought down in the box.
Makepeace stepped up to take the penalty and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to claim his third goal of the game.
In the last minute of the match, Vale midfielder Berks was shown a red card – he fouled Matete from behind and the two players had to be separated by their teammates. Berks was shown red by the referee, while Matete picked up a yellow card.
The referee then blew for full-time to confirm a well-deserved 7-1 win for the Cod Army.