Fleetwood Town's Under 18’s FA Youth Cup run comes to an end at The Den as 10-man Millwall come from behind to claim victory in the Fourth Round.
Although Town took the lead through striker Kian Makepeace, a resurgent Millwall took their chances in the second half with goals from Alex Mitchell, Abdul Abdulmalik and Sean O’Brien.
Proceedings started lively at a chilly Den, as after eight minutes Carl Johnston was brought down in the area by advancing goalkeeper Leighton Fanshawe, resulting in a penalty kick to the Cod Army.
Makepeace confidently stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 1-0 to Fleetwood.
The goal summed up Town’s positive start to the game as they created multiple chances. The next opportunity fell to Anthony Williams who tried his luck from range, but his effort went just over the bar.
Minutes later, the home side received a free-kick in a dangerous position. Sean O’Brien tried to outwit Town’s keeper Scott Pengelly, but the Northern Ireland international did well to turn the effort behind for a corner.
The teams headed into half-time with the score standing at 1-0 to Fleetwood, with Simon Wiles’ side looking good for their worth.
After a team talk and a regroup, the teams headed back out onto the hallow turf with the game still very much open.
The Lions started the second half strongly with some early danger signs, and made Town pay with defender Mitchell rising highest from a corner, to power a header into the net.
Chibuike Ezennolim was booked by the referee shortly after for a hard challenge, and then two minutes later flew in on defender Liam Goldsborough, earning him a straight red card as The Lions went down to ten men.
Town almost regained the lead thanks to Barry Baggley, however this strike rattled the crossbar with the Millwall defence managing to clear the rebound.
As the game drew towards the 70-minute mark, left back Billy Batch was replaced by Cian Hayes who almost made an instant impact as he beat his man before firing his shot into the side-netting.
Despite the deficit, 10-man Millwall were really threatening Fleetwood’s goal, and after some brilliant footwork from winger Nana Boateng, the ball was played to Abdulmailk - who slotted home to make it 2-1.
Millwall were on the offensive again as O’Brien stood over a free-kick on the edge of the area, and the midfielder saw his effort curled low and hard past a diving Pengelly to put the hosts two goals to the good.
The game ended 3-1 to Millwall, meaning Town’s FA Youth Cup journey comes to and end on Wednesday night at The Den.
Town XI: Pengelly (GK), Goldsborough, Batch (Hayes 70’), Boyle (C), Hill, Barrett, Morris (Collins 80’), Williams (Cooke 52’), Makepeace, Johnston, Baggley.
Subs not used: Borwick (GK), Patterson, Hayes, Thompson, Takpe.
Millwall XI: Fanshawe (GK), Bennett, Ezennolim, Munting, Mitchell (Miller 64’), Muller, Barton, Davis, Abdulmalik (Bate 80’), O’Brien (Brooke 92’), Boateng.
Subs not used: Gillmore, Penney, Okoli, Briscoe.