Fleetwood Town under 18s were held to a 1-1 draw in their Youth Alliance League fixture against Morecambe at Poolfoot Farm on Saturday.
Town got off to a slow start in the first half, and Morecambe took the lead through a wonderful Dylan Meredith free-kick.
Fleetwood were much improved in the second half and replied instantly, with defender James Hill finishing brilliantly from close range, but they couldn't find the winner on a frustrating afternoon, and it finished all square between the two sides.
Simon Wiles’ side went into the game in ninth position in the table, two places ahead of their opponents, albeit with three games in hand .
Town’s first attack came when midfielder Jay Matete squared the ball to Ryan Rydel on the left, and as Jones blocked his cross, Town’s appeals for handball were waved away by the referee.
Morecambe then began to take a foothold on the match and with good hold-up play by striker Kai Herbert, he was allowed to cross the ball to Amilcar Codjovi Djau, but the Morecambe winger slipped in the box, and missed his opportunity.
Moments later, Jamie Cooke tried his luck from distance, but his shot was deflected off Ibrahim Bakare, with goalkeeper Oliver Jumeau collecting the ball to prevent the corner being given by the referee.
The visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead from a Meredith corner. His cross was met by Herbert, whose overhead kick went agonisingly wide of Town goalkeeper Scott Pengelly’s left-hand post.
Morecambe’s pressure finally paid dividends when they took the lead in the 41st minute. Boyle was dispossessed in midfield and Herbert ran towards goal before Rydel fouled him and conceded a free kick in the edge of the box.
Meredith stepped up and curled the ball over the wall - Pengelly got a hand to it but could only guide the ball into the roof of the net. It was no more than Morecambe deserved, and Town went into the break a goal down and with a lot of work to do.
After the break, it didn't take long for Town to respond. Rydel’s free-kick from wide left was controlled by Hill insude the box, he chipped the ball over his marker and finished emphatically past Jumeau.
Town made a number of substitutions in the second half as they looked go in front. Anthony Williams replaced the injured Jamie Cooke, while Liam Goldsborough, Shayden Morris came off the bench to mix things up.
The changes saw Town improve in the second half, and they almost went in front when Sam O’Halleron unselfishly laid the ball to Morris, but his shot was well blocked by the Morecambe defender.
Morris had another chance minutes later to get his name on the score sheet after he was played in by fellow substitute Goldsborough, but this time he dragged his shot across goal. Huge let off for the away side.
The second half was finely poised as both teams threatened to take the lead on a number of occasions. Another chance for Town slipped by as Hill chested the ball down with his back towards goal, with his ambitious bicycle kick sailing over the bar.
It was end-to-end stuff as Codjovi Djau was played clear through on goal, and he came within inches of putting Morecambe in front.With just Pengelly to beat, he attempted a delicate lob over the goalkeeper, and he saw his shot bounce back off the crossbar and cleared from danger.
Town broke on the counter-attack and had the ball in the net, but the referee ruled it out for offside, with substitute Cian Hayes just a second early with a clever run.
Morecambe threatened through Bakare, who headed wide from six yards in added time, but it ended all square at the final whistle. It was a fair result in the end, and Morecambe deserved a point for the first half performance alone.
Town did well to put such a uncharacteristic first half behind them and find a way back into the match. The winning goal ultimately evaded them, but with league leaders Wigan Athletic coming up next weekend, they at least showed great character to come back and earn a point on the day.
Town XI: Pengelly, McCarragher (Goldsborough 64’), Hill, Cooke (Williams 45’) , Rydel, Boyle, Barrett, Matete (Morris 59’) Johnston (Hayes 80’), Crowe, O’Halleron.
Subs not used: Mashigo.
Morecambe XI: Jumeau, Twiname, Edwards, Bakare, Jones, Young, Codjovi Djau, Dorwood, Herbert, Meredith (Price 65’), Obasoto (Chiduku 60’).
Subs not used: Farrington, Ly, Lowe.