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Match Reports

Town hold Leicester at Highbury to earn third round replay

6 January 2018

Fleetwood Town earn a Emirates FA Cup third round replay against Leicester City after an impressive 0-0 draw against the Premier League side.

The Premier League side were reduced to minimal chances, and were lucky not to lose when Ash Hunter’s stoppage time effort hit the post, and then the back of the goalkeeper, before being smothered to safety.

Fleetwood started confidently at a packed Highbury, passing the ball around nicely and not allowing the Foxes’ star-studded line up much room on the ball.

With the crowd bouncing, Leicester almost conceded early on, as a stray backpass from Yohan Benalouane rattled Eldin Jakupovic who was forced to tip the ball behind for a corner. From that, Cian Bolger had his powerful free header cleared.

Town grew in confidence, with Hunter forcing Jakupovic into another save from outside the area.

Uwe Rosler was then forced to make an early change as Ashley Eastham was forced off, with Nathan Pond replacing the defender.

After an impressive Christmas period, Hunter was again causing all the problems for Claude Puel’s men, who were yet to register a chance by the 20th minute.

It wasn’t until Benalouane flicked on a corner that City has really threatened, but Town were still looking comfortable on the ball against the former Premier League champions.

Nice footwork from George Glendon almost put through Devante Cole, before Wes Burns looked to close down on goal with a piercing run, as the Cod Army began knocking on Leicester’s door.

The Foxes' best chance of the game came when Demarai Gray wriggled free on the right side, before cutting in, but his shot was saved by Chris Neal – perhaps the year’s supply of the free pizza on offer for a clean sheet was going through Neal’s mind for that one.

City had given a start to youngster Harvey Barnes, and he tried his luck as he acrobatically volleyed a cleared header from Amari’i Bell, but he did little to test Neal as his effort flew way over the bar. With the game still goalless, and heading for the half time break, there was little to separate the two sides.

Barnes again had a scuffed shot deflected for a corner, which was to be the last action of a good first half for Rosler’s men.

The second half saw another bright start from Fleetwood, particularly Wes Burns who looked dangerous on the left side.

The often so reliable corner combination duo of Bolger and Glendon almost paid it’s dividends again in this match, but the ball had just too much power on it for the Irishman to direct his header on target.

Town were then to com agonisingly close again, this time as Cole looked to flick on Hunter’s ball into the area. Just wide, but corner to Fleetwood thanks to a deflection.

Perhaps testament to Fleetwood’s performance, Claude Puel brought on Shinji Okazaki and Marc Albrighton into the fray in an effort to win the tie for his Premier League side.

Town then won a series of corners as the Foxes struggled to take a foothold in the game against a side 48 places below them in the football pyramid.

First, it was Bolger again – unsurprisingly from a Glendon corner – who connected to his next header, but it was slightly off target this time around.

It was still Burns causing all the problems for Puel’s men, as he forced yet another corner, as Fleetwood looked to derail Leicester’s fourth round hopes. Markus Schwabl did well to volley the rebound, but it was straight at Jakupovic. It was Schwabl again who connected this one. Wide again.

Lewie Coyle had done well to keep Gray quiet on his side, but Gray did manage to force a cross into the area which had Neal troubled, however, it looped over the keeper with the connection hitting the side netting.

Andy King had a rare chance for the visitors as he hit a loose ball from the edge of the area, but it was well wide of Neal’s net.

It had so far been an outstanding display from Fleetwood, who had rarely allowed the Premier League stars a sight on goal.

Corners seemed to be Town’s favourite form of attack as yet another one came their way, but yet again Leicester were able to clear their lines. Town had their opponents rattled as a defensive error allowed Glendon to storm into the area before a last ditch clearance from Amartey led to, yes, another corner.

It was the Glendon/Bolger duo at work once again, but there was just a bit too much on it from Bolger, who headed over.

Hunter was next to try, as a dominant Fleetwood missed another chance. His free kick evaded everyone in the City area and curled just wide of Jakupovic’s goal.

It was Hunter to have the vital chance at the very end as his strike was somehow kept out by the keeper in dramatic circumstances, as it hit Jakupovic’s back after striking the post. 

It was an impressive display all round for Rosler’s men, who will travel to the King Power Stadium in ten days’ time to decide who will progress to the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Fleetwood Town: Neal (GK), Coyle, Bell, Eastham (Pond), Dempsey, Burns, Bolger, Glendon, Hunter, Schwabl, Cole.

Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Hiwula. McAleny, Jones, Biggins, Sowerby.

Leicester City: Jakupovic (GK), Chilwell, Gray, King ©, Silva (Okazaki), Dragovic, Amartey, Slimani (Iheanacho), James, Benalouane, Barnes (Albrighton).

Subs not used: Hamer (GK), Maguire, Ndidi, Choudhury.

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