Fleetwood Town came away victors in their first competitive game of the season as they beat Carlisle United 3-1 in the EFL Trophy at Brunton Park.
Gime Touré opened the scoring for the hosts early on, before Callum Camps leveled it up just before the half. Harvey Saunders made the difference in the second half as his brace won all three points for the Cod Army in Cumbria.
The first chance of the game fell to James Hill in the eighth minute as Whelan’s out-swinging corner found the head of Hill but his effort sailed just over the bar.
A few minutes later, Fleetwood came close once again. Josh Morris found himself in a yard of space 20 yards out, striking the ball towards goal, which was spilled by Paul Farman into the path of Callum Camps, whose shot was saved.
At the other end, Touré almost found a way through for the hosts when he found himself in on goal and forced a save out of Joel Coleman. Gavin Reilly saw his rebound shot effortlessly tipped over by Fleetwood’s number one.
Morris found himself at the heart of the action once again. His freekick found Saunders at the back post but Farman got a hand to the ball to prevent the cut-back to keep the score level.
Soon after, Coutts spotted Wes Burns on the run and fed it into his path, he pulled the ball back to Saunders whose shot went just wide of the post.
Even though Fleetwood continued to press, it was Carlisle who had the next chance – on the counter-attack. Anderton’s deflected effort from the edge of the area was pushed over the bar by Coleman. The Cumbrians took the lead from the resulting corner when Touré forced the ball over the line.
A minute before the break, Joey Barton’s side responded. After a midfield splitting pass from Glenn Whelan, Danny Andrew found himself with space on the left. His low, a driven cross found Callum Camps in the middle who slotted the ball into the back of the net to make things all square at the break.
The first chance of the second half came after a lapse of concentration amongst the Fleetwood backline allowing Reilly to win the ball. Coleman was alert and intervened with a superb sliding challenge.
Fleetwood took the lead 57 minutes in after Coutts whipped the ball in towards the back post and found Saunders, whose diving header nestled into the back of the net to give his side the lead.
After a piece of hold up play from Camps, Andrews delivers the ball into the area towards Saunders who rises high ahead of his marker to head home his second of the game doubling his team’s lead.
Saunders had the chance to grab his hat-trick from another Coutts delivery. This time, his strike could only find the side netting.
Carlisle came close to pulling a goal back after Toure’s shot was deflected out of Coleman’s reach but fortunately, it looped just over the bar. Toure received a late red card after kicking out at Fleetwood’s Wes Burns.
Fleetwood will take the confidence from this win into this Saturday’s Carabao Cup Round One tie against Wigan Athletic at Highbury Stadium – with kick-off being 3pm on the day.
Carlisle XI: Farman (GK), Tanner, Anderton (C), Devine, Hayden, Riley, Alessandra, Reilly, Mellish, McDonald, Toure
Bench: Dewhurst (GK), Hunt, Charters, Furman, Birch, Armstrong, Bell
Fleetwood XI: Coleman (GK), Andrew, Whelan, Burns, Camps, J.Morris, Coutts (C), Saunders, Garner, Holgate, Hill
Bench: Cairns (GK), Evans, Baggley, Rydel, Matete, Johnson, S.Morris