Fleetwood Town fell to a 2-1 defeat to Stoke City in the opening round of the Carabao Cup at the bet365 Stadium on Tuesday night.
In a tough night in Staffordshire, Town were trying to break through the host’s backline, which featured former-cod Harry Souttar, but it was the opposition who managed to find the back of the net on two occasions through Sam Surridge and Souttar.
The hosts had the first chance of the game four minutes into the game as Alfie Doughty’s cross towards the back post was met by the head of Jacob Brown, whose header was off target.
It looked like Jay Matete was about to have Town’s opening effort when he won back possession 25-yards from goal when his effort flew just wide of the post, but the referee pulled play back for an earlier foul.
Minutes later, the Cod Army had the chance to break the deadlock when Anthony Pilkington’s defence-splitting pass played Callum Camps through on goal, put a last-minute challenge from Souttar deflected the ball behind for a corner.
Stoke almost took the lead when Sam Clucas teed up Jordan Thompson from a long-range free-kick. His optimistic effort flew just wide of Alex Cairns’ goal.
Just before the break, Tom Ince drove down the right flank before cutting onto his right foot. He crossed into the six-yard box, finding Surridge who fired home to give Stoke the lead.
In a closely contested start to the second half, the game was starved of chances until the 54th minute when Ince worked his way past Max Clark inside the area but fired just over the bar.
The Cod Army pushed for an equaliser when Pilkington found space on the edge of the area. His strike called Davies into action who kept the home side’s lead intact.
Steven Fletcher latched onto a defensive error, calling Cairns into action. The Town stopper pulled off a superb reaction save from close range with his feet to keep his side in the game.
The hosts doubled the deficit when former-Cod Souttar lost his marker on a corner before heading home to add to his side’s tally.
Town had a chance late on as substitute Callum Morton was found by a curled through ball by Camps, who then worked his way past his marker and forced a near-post save from the Stoke goalkeeper.
The final chance of the game came just after Danny Andrew's free-kick 25-yards out, which Davies having to save his strike on goal, as Morton crossed the ball into a packed box, which was turned into the goal by a Stoke defender.
Town XI: Cairns (GK) (C), Halliday, Andrew, Camps, Pilkington (Morris 65’), Edmondson (Morton 70’), Holgate, Matete, Hill, Batty (Biggins 76’), Clark.
Unused subs: Crellin (GK), Johnson, Rossiter, Garner.
Stoke XI: Davies, Chester, Clucas, Doughty, Thompson, Brown (Norton 76’), Ostigard, Surridge (Fletcher 69’), Ince, Souttar, Porter (Vrancic 69’).
Unused subs: Bonham (GK), Wilmot, Powell, Jones.
Attendance: 4,694 (178 away)