Fleetwood Town are through to the knockout stages of the Leasing.com Trophy after beating Oldham Athletic 5-2 at Highbury on Wednesday night.
The five star showing from Fleetwood saw five different goal scorers in the match, with Peter Clarke, Josh Morris, Jack Sowerby, Wes Burns and Paddy Madden all finding the back of the net.
Oldham netted one in each half, with Jonny Smith scoring from 30-yards out, and substitute Desire Segbe Azankpo bagging his side's second from close range.
There was also a moment of history at Highbury Stadium, as Cian Hayes became the club's youngest ever played, aged just 16 years and 145 days. He lit up Highbury with a dazzling second half cameo, and was unlucky to not score on his debut.
The match began with good play on the far side by Burns, who fired in a low cross which was cleared only as far as Madden. His attempted shot was slightly ambitious, and out it went for a goal kick.
From the first set piece of the night, a corner was whipped in by Kyle Dempsey and it was headed home by captain Clarke against his former club. This was the first of three in the opening 15 minutes.
The lead was doubled just two minutes later, as the hosts drove forwards from midfield, before Dempsey played in Morris, who calmly finished past the Latics goalkeeper.
Town were looking good in all areas of the pitch, and through patient build up play, Sowerby made it three with his long range effort. The midfielder did brilliantly to find a yard of space before hitting a low driven shot into the far corner.
As Oldham slowly started to show signs of their attacking threats, Smith got one back for the visitors as his shot from distance fired past Alex Cairns in the Fleetwood goal.
Joey Barton side weren’t settling for the lead, and when Madden picked out Burns on the counter attack, the Welshman made it 4-1 after a lovely finish inside the box – the first goal for Burns this season.
The second half began brightly for Oldham, and when Smith ran to the byline and had an attempt for his second of the match, but his effort crashed against the post and out for a goal kick.
It did not take long for Town to resume order, as Madden got on the end of a loose ball from an attempted clearance to fire in Fleetwood’s fifth of the evening.
It could have been six just shy of the hour mark, as Dempsey - who assisted Town’s first two goals - clipped the top of the crossbar with a shot from 25 yards.
Moments after, there was another chance for a Town goal. Morris found himself one-on-one with De La Paz, but the keeper pulled off a great double save to deny the midfielder’s second of the game.
At this point, Town continued to dominate the match, and had two more attempts in quick succession. Andrew tried his luck from range, before Madden went through on goal, only to see his shot pulled wide past the far post.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, the Latics pulled one back through Azankpo. With the ball bouncing around the penalty area, the striker got the all important last touch to guide it past the goal line.
Hayes then replaced Morris to make his debut for the club, and become Town’s youngster ever player. After impressing with Simon Wiles’ Under 18s, Hayes was straight into the action and after beating two players with his trickery, he pulled the ball back to Burns, who then forced the keeper to make a save.
Moments later, Hayes was on a free-kick 20-yards from goal. His in-swinging shot looked to be heading into the top corner, only to be plucked out of the air by De La Paz.
The referee brought proceedings to an end, and with a professional display from Barton’s team, they will now march on into the knockout stages of the Leasing.com Trophy.
The draw for the knockout stages will take place this Saturday on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday at 2pm. With Town finishing second in their group behind Accrington Stanley, they will have an away leg against another Northern based side.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew, Clarke (C), Burns, Dempsey (Matete 70’), Morris (Hayes 74’), Dunne, Southam-Hales, Rossiter, Madden (Garner 70’), Sowerby.
Subs not used: Cottam (GK), Sheron, Hill, Rydel.
Oldham XI: De La Paz (GK), Mills, Iacovitti, Stott, Morais (Wilson 46’), Sylla, McCann, Smith, Eagles (Maouche 46’), Hamer, Emmerson (Azankpo 65’).
Subs not used: Smith-Brown, Adams, Gaskell.