Fleetwood Town’s Under 18s claimed an emphatic 3-0 win over Wrexham in the Youth Alliance League at Poolfoot Farm on Saturday.
Town secured their first win in seven games in all competitions, and they did it in style with a dominant display.
Forward Carl Johnston opened the scoring in the first half with a stunning 30-yard strike that flew into the top corner. Johnston then turned provider for Shayden Morris, who headed in from close range, before defender Alkeo Bani added a third to confirm the win for Town.
Coach Simon Wiles made three changes to the side that were beaten 3-0 at Bury last weekend, with Morris, Ryan Rydel and Anthony Williams coming into the side for Kai Steer, Barry Crowe and Jay Matete. Rydel was returning after being named on the bench for the first team at Southend last Saturday.
Fleetwood were lively from the off as Morris saw plenty of the ball, and he took on left-back Phillip Perry, but was then hacked down by Max Cleworth.
Wrexham had the first clear-cut chance of the game when Matt Sargent collected the ball and hit one from 30 yards, but Town stopper Scott Pengelly produced a stunning diving save to deny the Wrexham captain.
Johnston then set the tone for the day as he whipped in a cross to striker Sam O’Halleron, and his header was matched by a good reaction save by Wrexham goalkeeper Ben Tinkley.
Town got their first goal after 32 minutes when Johnston controlled the ball outside the area and unleashed a wonderful effort that sailed into the top right corner of the net.
Johnston was pivotal in the second goal as Town doubled their lead just before half-time. Rydel’s long-range pass found Johnston in the box, and he delicately chipped the ball over the defender towards Morris, and his low header made it 2-0.
Town showed no sign of relenting as they pushed forward as the second half got underway. Johnston went close from inside the box, his strike going just over the bar.
Town’s pressure was beginning to tell and they got their third goal through another well-worked team move. Johnston took a free-kick just inside the opposition half, and with everyone expecting a long ball into the box, his clever reverse ball to the overlapping Rydel saw the Town full-back break into the area.
His low cross towards the back post couldn't be cleared, and Bani was in the right place at the right time to slot the ball home for Town’s third.
It was no more than Town deserved for their hard work and creative attacking play. Lone striker O’Halleron optimised Town’s relentless grafting, closing down every loose ball throughout the 90 minutes. With Morris and Johnston either side of him, the Town front three were too much for the Wrexham back four to handle.
In the 50th minute, Johnston’s corner picked out a great run by James Hill. The Town defender almost added a fourth, but his header was cleared off the line.
Katlego Mashigo, who put in a non-stop performance in midfield alongside Williams and captain Dylan Boyle, had an effort on target but was well denied by Tinkley.
Wrexham looked for a route back into the game when striker Cam McGregor turned Bani in the box, but his shot was dragged wide of Pengelly’s near post.
Johnston then crossed the ball into the box, finding Mashigo at the back post, and his effort went just over the bar from inside the six-yard box.
Sargent then crossed the ball into McGregor for Wrexham, and his looping header was destined for the top corner, and Pengelly tipped over the bar.
With a three goal cushion to their name, Town’s attacking flair was evident as Morris took on two defenders on the right, cut in on his left foot and hit a fine effort towards the far corner – but he was denied by the post.
Jay Matete then replaced Johnston for Town and he was instantly involved as he dispossessed his man and drove forward with the ball. As Rydel covered the length of the pitch to offer an option on the left, Matete played in Morris - whose shot was once again well saved.
In the 86th minute, Mashigo again came close to getting a deserved goal when he picked the ball up, and this time it was the post that denied the Town midfielder.
Substitute Matete then tried his luck from distance in injury time, and the referee blew for full-time as Town claimed a well-deserved win.
Fleetwood: Pengelly, Rydel, Hill, Bani, Goldsborough, Boyle, Mashigo, Williams (Cooke 72’), Morris, Johnston (Matete 78’), O’Halleron.
Subs not used: Clayton, Steer, Makepeace.
Wrexham: Tinkley, Heald (Butler 45’), Perry, Cleworth, Beaumont, Thorn, Pilkington, Sargent (Parry 85’), McGregor (Bickerstarr 78’), Jones (Huxley 80’), Pushorn (Robinson-Murray 82’).