Fleetwood Town safely made it past non-league Barnet to progress to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup, after a 2-0 victory on Sunday.
The Cod Army were good value for the victory at The Hive, and made it through after goals from Ched Evans and substitute Ashley Hunter.
Evans’ first half strike was what Joey Barton’s side deserved, before Hunter’s goal just before the end ensured there was to be no cup upset in the capital.
On a sunny afternoon in North London, it was an even start to the match with both Barnet and Fleetwood having decent chances inside the opposition’s penalty area.
Barnet’s first chance fell to in-form striker Mauro Vilhete, with the forward doing well to control the ball on the edge of the area, but Harry Souttar made a crucial block to repel the attack.
Moments later, the recalled Conor McAleny and Kyle Dempsey combined, with the latter getting into the box, with his effort saved by the keeper Scott Loach, only for the rebound to come of the Town midfielder to go out for a goal kick.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Elliot Johnson delivered a lovely weighted cross to Jack Taylor, but the striker failed to time his header – which went high over Billy Crellin’s goal. Crellin making his first FA Cup start for his hometown club.
Fleetwood’s control in the next ten minutes led to the first the goal of the match. After a lovely move down the right hand side, Lewie Coyle’s cross wasn’t cleared by Barnet’s defence and when it fell to Evans eight yards out, and he couldn’t miss on his supposed weaker left foot.
Town had a glorious chance to double their lead two minutes later. McAleny was sent through one-on-one with Loach, but his effort was well saved and held by the Bees ‘keeper.
Evans nearly had his and Town’s second of the match after his driven shot at goal was tipped over the bar from Loach. The control was with the away side as they headed into the dressing rooms at half-time.
The side tenth in the National League came out after the break with a purpose of getting the next goal in the game, and with some miscommunication at the back, Josh Walker thought he had the ball at his mercy, but Souttar was there to clear the danger from the blind side of the forward.
Barton made two changes around the hour mark with McAleny coming off for Paddy Madden, and Dempsey making way for Hunter.
The match entered a scrappy spell with just 15 minutes left, and with no side really having possession of the ball or having any real cut chances in front of goal, it would have pleased the visitors more with time running out.
Hunter showed some quality in the final third with an explosive effort from 25 yards out. The winger twisted his defender inside out before firing low at goal. Once again, Loach was there to parry it out for a Fleetwood corner.
Town had two big chances at the end of the match with another substitute Wes Burns and Jordan Rossiter going close. Burns’ header was cleared off the line, with Rossiter’s strike from 20 yards just narrowly going over the crossbar.
Hunter did kill off the game in the 89th minute will a well taken finish inside the penalty area. The 24-year-old latched onto through ball and got the 128 travelling fans off their seats with his first goal of the season.
Fleetwood will see their name the draw for the Emirates FA Cup Second Round draw on Monday night after a solid performance in North London.
Barnet XI: Loach (GK), Alexander, Johnston, Reynolds, Dunne (Chime 80’), J. Taylor, H. Taylor, Vilhete (Akinola 80’), Walker, Tutonda (Mason-Clark 56’), Sweeney.
Subs not used: Azaze (GK), Adams, Boucaud, Elito.
Town XI: Crellin (GK), Coyle, Souttar, Eastham, Andrew, Rossiter, Coutts ©, Dempsey (Hunter 68’), McAleny (Madden 61’), Morris (Burns 75’), Evans.
Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Dunne, Southam-Hales, Biggins.
Attendance: 1,180 (128 away)