A hat-trick from Harvey Saunders helped Fleetwood Town’s Development Squad to a dominant 5-1 victory over Wigan Athletic at Poolfoot Farm on Tuesday afternoon.
Saunders’ three goals, along with Barry Baggley’s early effort and Sam O’Halleron’s late strike gave the Cod Army victory, while Wigan only had Thelo Aasgaard’s consolation header to show for their efforts.
Fleetwood began on the front foot, pressing Wigan excellently, and got their rewards in the sixth minute when Baggley was on hand to finish neatly after being played through by O’Halleron.
The midfielder might have had a second 15 minutes later but his well-timed header was just over the bar. However, the hosts would not have to wait long to double their advantage, Saunders with the easiest of tap in’s after a mix up in the Wigan defence. A deserved two goal lead for Fleetwood.
The Cod Army’s dominance continued until half-time, even if they were unable to extend their lead. Lawrence Smith with the best of the chances, with his sweetly struck free-kick saved from on the edge of the penalty area.
Although it would not take long after the interval for Fleetwood to score their third. Macauley Southam-Hales, who had been a threat all afternoon, dug out a perfect cross which Saunders headed home from close range.
Two minutes later Southam-Hales created another effort. This time O’Halleron was the beneficiary of the right-wing-backs delivery. The striker controlled the ball well, before firing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
At 4-0, the match was all but over, but Wigan did start to grow into the game, even if they did little to test the Trialist in the Fleetwood goal.
They were able to cut the deficit eight minutes from time, Aasgaard’s bullet header finishing off a fluent move from the visitors.
Though it would be Fleetwood that had the last laugh, Saunders completing his hat-trick to round off an excellent days work for Stephen Crainey's side.
Fleetwood XI: Trialist (GK), Hill, Cooke (Goldsborough 84’), Baines, Southam, Clarke, Smith, Baggley (Johnston 76’), Mashigo (Matete 71’), Saunders, O’Halleron (Morris 84’).