Fleetwood Town fell to a 4-1 defeat in the Papa John’s Trophy against Accrington Stanley at Highbury on Tuesday evening.
Two first-half stunners from Harry Pell and Ethan Hamilton cancelled out Ged Garner’s penalty, before Tommy Leigh and Michael Nottingham took the game out of Town’s reach, meaning Town head into the second round of the competition with the draw taking place on Saturday.
The first chance of the game came from an Accrington corner as Pell’s header towards goal was comfortably collected by Billy Crellin.
Ged Garner was the first Fleetwood man to try and get his name on the scoresheet as Town worked a free-kick into the forward, and with some nice footwork he carved open a chance for himself, but his shot went just over the bar.
Moments later Ryan Edmondson was chasing a ball in behind the defence but his attempt to lift it over Toby Savin was denied.
Pell put the visitors ahead with an unbelievable strike from stance that struck the underside of the bar and went in, despite Crellin at full stretch.
After a period of play primarily in the middle of the park, Town broke away through Harrison Biggins, who laid it off to Jay Matete to take a shot from outside the box, but his effort on goal was blocked.
With just under 10 minutes of the first half to go, Cheikh Thiam was fouled just inside the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Garner grabbed the ball confidently and converted the penalty kick with ease to bring his side back to level terms.
Just before half-time, the visitors regained their lead, and it was another stunner. Accrington’s left-back, Hamilton, ventured over to right-wing, cut inside and let fly on his left foot from 30-yards out and he left Crellin with absolutely no chance as it nestled the top left stanchion.
Biggins found a yard of space and decided to try and exploit it, Town’s #27 then set himself up for a shot that looked to be heading goal bound before it was blocked, which appeared to be by a hand, but the referee wasn’t interested.
Pell was involved once again as within five minutes of the restart, his cross reached Leigh who placed it into the bottom left corner to make it Accrington’s third of the night.
Matete once again picked the ball up and drove at the backtracking Accrington defence, however, his attempt on goal was fired just over the bar.
Crellin was on hand to deny second-half substitute, Tom Scully, from increasing his side’s lead with a fine save with his feet, knocking it around the post for a corner.
Hamilton stepped out of defence and drove through the middle of the park, before playing in Joel Mumbongo who took a bit further than he would have wanted and as a result, his shot rattled the bar.
Max Clark came agonisingly close to pulling one back for the hosts, but his shot, which appeared to be tipped wide by Savin, was only given as a goal kick.
Late damage for Fleetwood as second-half captain Nottingham got on the scoresheet. His header from Accrington’s late corner made it 4-1 on the night.
Town XI: Crellin (GK), Andrew (C), McLaughlin, Edmondson (Morris 58’), G.Garner, Matete, Batty, Johnson, Biggins, Clark, Thiam (Morton 58’)
Unused Subs: Cairns (GK) J.Garner, Boyle, Bird, Thompson
Accrington XI: Savin (GK), Rodgers, Sherring, Hamilton, Pell (Malcolm 78’), Nottingham, Procter, Coyle, Leigh, Mansell (Mumbongo 46’), Conneely (Scully 46’) (C)
Unused Subs: Isherwood (GK), Nolan, Clark, Amankwah