Fleetwood Town gave a great account of themselves on Tuesday night, as they narrowly lost 1-0 at Sky Bet Championship side Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup first round.
Tiago Silva’s second half strike saw Forest secure a second round tie against arch rivals Derby County, but it was the Cod Army who had a host of chances in the second half, with Conor McAleny and Paddy Madden going closest.
A performance to be proud of nonetheless, as Joey Barton’s side now focus back on the League One campaign at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
Barton made two changes to his side from Saturday’s victory at AFC Wimbledon. Madden and livelong Forest fan Ash Hunter came into the side, with McAleny and Josh Morris moving to the bench.
Alex Cairns was called into action early on, with the keeper denying Rafa Mir’s volley from inside Fleetwood’s box, in the third minute. The home side continued to pressure Town’s defence and just five minutes later threatened again, however Samba Sow’s effort from the edge of the area was watched comfortably wide of the target by Cairns.
Harrison Biggins had Fleetwood’s first attempt on goal after driving through the midfield before unleashing a vicious strike, but the 23-year-old saw his effort sail wide of the post.
Town continued to create chances when they regained possession and it was Biggins who was at the heart of the next attack. The midfielder managed to latch onto a brilliant through ball, before laying it across the area for Madden – but the Irishman couldn’t find space to strike it and played it back to Jordan Rossiter who won Fleetwood a free-kick.
The resulting free-kick was hit by Danny Andrew, having already scored one early in the season, but Brice Samba was able to match it – tipping the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
Peter Clarke then soon after had the best chance of the half, as he almost put Fleetwood a goal up on the brink of half-time. The centre-half rose the tallest at the back post and connected with Paul Coutts’ corner ball, but his headed effort was pushed onto the post by Samba.
A promising first half performance from the Cod Army meant the teams went into the break at The City Ground all-square.
There was little action at the beginning of the half, with Sammy Ameobi going the closest from a Silva corner.
Forest opened the scoring, in the 60th minute, when Silva managed to get past Harry Souttar in the area to gain space before unleashing a powerful shot past Cairns and into the net. A tidy finish in truth.
Fleetwood had a brilliant chance to equalise after Paul Coutts snatched the ball from John Bostock before driving into the area and firing a shot at goal. The shot was parried by the keeper, however only as far as McAleny, but his effort was just wide of the post – agonisingly close.
The Cod Army came close again when substitute Ross Wallace’s free-kick almost caught Samba off-guard, with the experienced midfielder’s effort parried away from goal by a great save.
Town kept banging on the door and this time it was Madden who had the opportunity to level for Town. A header from Clarke played the striker in on goal, but with two defenders on his tail the forward was unable to direct his attempt on goal.
Defeat in the end for Fleetwood, who gave their Championship opponents a real scare, but it’s Forest who go through.
Nottingham Forest XI: Samba (GK), Ribeiro, Figueiredo, Worrall (C), Bostock, Mir, Jenkinson, Ameobi, Sow (Johnson 64’), Silva, Appiah (Cash 76’).
Subs not used: Muric (GK), Milosevic, Robinson, Richardson, Mighten.
Fleetwood Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Andrew, Clarke, Souttar, Burns, Coutts (C), Rossiter (Wallace 78’), Madden, Hunter (Morris 52’), Biggins (McAleny 61’).
Subs not used: Crellin (GK), Eastham, Sowerby, Sheron.