Fleetwood Town’s Under 18s found themselves on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller as they lost 3-2 to Bury in the FA Youth Cup on Thursday.
Town had a perfect start to the game when Carl Johnston put them into the lead after just 80 seconds, before Femi Seriki equalised before half-time.
Callum Hulme put Bury in the lead with a stunning strike, before adding his second with a late penalty to make it 3-1.
Town pulled one back from the penalty spot themselves in injury time through Ryan Rydel, but it wasn’t enough as they were beaten narrowly on the night.
After suffering a 3-0 defeat on their last visit to Bury in September, Town were looking for an improvement on that result this time round as they aimed to progress to the third round for only the second time in the club’s history.
Coach Simon Wiles made one chance to the side that beat Carlisle United in the first round at Highbury a week ago, with Johnston coming into the side for Kian Makepeace.
And Johnston justified his inclusion in the starting 11 when he put Town into the lead after just 80 seconds. James Hill burst forward and played the ball into Shayden Morris, the Town winger slid the ball across to Johnston and he finished coolly from inside the area.
Town almost doubled their lead after 11 minutes when Sam O’Halleron managed to evade Sam Allardyce and find space in the box, but his effort was straight at Bury goalkeeper Mark Edwards-Williams.
Johnston had a second on his mind when he picked the ball up 20 yards out and attempted to hit one on the volley, but his effort went wide.
Bury found an equaliser in the 18th minute when a cross into the box was met by defender Saul Shotton at the back post – he headed back across goal and winger Seriki dived in to head the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Town were inches away from regaining their lead after 29 minutes when a Jay Matete cross flew past the face of goal, with Hill and O’Halleron close to tapping the ball in from close range.
With 32 minutes played, Bury captain Joe Adams – a player who put in a match winning display the last time the two sides met - was first to a loose ball, and the silky winger weaved in and out of three Town players before being brought down by Katlego Mashigo. The resulting free-kick was curled over the bar by Hulme.
Just minutes later it was Adams who would’ve given Bury the lead, had he not been denied by the fingertips of Town stopper Scott Pengelly. Jack Hatton played the ball into Adams, who ran at the Town defence and hit a shot that appeared to be heading for the bottom corner, and Pengelly got down brilliantly to keep the scores level.
Not to be outdone on the night, it was then Morris’ turn to produce a mazy run – the speedy Town winger got past one defender and fired a low shot towards the near post – Edwards-Williams parried the ball away then Shotton cleared.
Bury were on the front foot leading up to half-time and they came close when full-back Aaron Skinner got past Rydel and pulled the ball back to Hulme, whose shot from inside the box was well blocked by Anthony Williams.
Just before the halfway mark, Town almost crept into the lead when Rydel picked the ball up following a corner, and with everyone expecting a cross, he curled a shot towards the near post and Edwards-Williams did well to divert the ball from goal.
The two sides went into the break all level, but it was Bury who took the lead within two minutes of the second half.
Town’s attack broke down, and after the ball was fed into Adams, he made ground and burst into the Town half before squaring the ball to Hulme on the right. He took one touch and unleashed a fine strike that flew past Pengelly and into the top corner of the net.
In the 55th minute, Hulme’s delivered a free-kick into the box, and Shotton came close to heading in at the back post.
Town introduced Dylan Boyle and Barry Baggley-Crowe to the fold as they searched for an equaliser, and they almost had it through Johnston in the 72 minute.
Town’s patient build-up play saw Hill fire the ball into Johnston, and he took on his man and hit one from the edge of the area – his shot beat the goalkeeper but brushed past the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
In the 82nd minute, Town were desperately unlucky to be on the end of three incorrect refereeing decisions in one passage of play. With Matete closing in on the Bury area he was pulled back by Oliver Patrick, yet the referee waved play on.
When the ball was played out to Adams on the right, the ball appeared to strike his arm, but play carried on once again. When the winger tumbled in the area after collising with Liam Goldsborough, the whistle was blown and it was a penalty to the home side. Hulme sent Pengelly the wrong way to make it 3-1 to Bury.
Town were awarded a penalty in injury time when Rydel was brought down in the box, and he stepped up himself to calmly slot the ball in to pull a goal back.
Town’s one chance to send the game to extra time came when Rydel played the ball into Matete, he turned his man and shot from just outside the area, but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
Town piled everyone into the box for a free-kick in the last minute, but they couldn’t find the all-important equaliser as the referee blew for full-time to confirm Town’s elimination from the competition.
Town XI: Pengelly (GK), Goldsborough, Hill ©, Cooke, Rydel, Williams (Baggely-Crowe 65’), Mashigo (Boyle 59’), Matete, Johnston, Morris, O’Halleron.
Subs not used: Clayton, Makepeace, McCarragher.
Bury XI: Edwards-Williams (GK), Skinner, Allardyce, Shotton, Hatton, Hulme, C. Jones (Copping 78’), Patrick (E. Jones 89’), Seriki (Moisin 88’), Adams ©, Brown.
Subs not used: Ondoa, Takpe.