Fleetwood Town fell to a 4-3 loss on penalties after an end-to-end 1-1 draw with Barrow AFC in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.
The clash between the two sides was well-contested, with both sides looking like coming out victors on the night, with gilt-edged chances at either end. It showed as the game went to penalties, with Max McMillan, Promise Omochere, and Ged Garner finding the back of the net, but it was Josh Lillis who was the star of the show – saving two penalties for the visitors.
Town started the game coming out the blocks as they created two quickfire chances in the opening three minutes as Cian Hayes saw his effort at the back post from two yards out hit the outside of the post before Omochere looked like he was played through one-on-one, but he was deemed to be just offside.
The pressure continued as at the quarter-hour mark, Drew Baker played an almost perfect through ball over the top for Omochere, but Lillis read the situation well and came out to intercept and collect the ball.
Omochere was in the thick of it once again a minute later as he picked up the ball 25-yards out and played the ball to the feet of Carlos Mendes Gomes, who was able to take it in his stride and forced a decent diving save from Lillis, between the Barrow sticks.
After half-chances from Barrow’s Billy Waters and Fleetwood’s Kyle White, it was the Cods who managed to break the deadlock in the 30th minute as a nice bit of interplay from Wiredu and Mendes Gomes saw the former whip his shot from the edge of the box inside the far post to open the scoring.
Soon after, Barrow had a good chance as Solomon Nwabuokei beat White to the ball in the midfield and then played in David Moyo, whose shot from range went high and side of the target. Garner thought he was through 30 seconds later after a perfect ball from Mendes Gomes, but the marking defender did well.
It was destined to be level at the break as Carl Johnston conceded a foul 20-yards out, which Rooney stood over for the visitors and curled the set-piece into the top right, beating Jakub Stolarczyk who was at full stretch.
Barrow started the second half as the more attacking side as early chances from Jordan Stevens – who hit the side netting from close range – and Tom White troubled the Town backline, but the score stayed at one apiece after those chances.
Some great chances were then worked by Fleetwood as G.Garner controlled the ball inside the Barrow area and forced a save from the goalkeeper, with Hayes having a shot two minutes later, which needed to be blocked by an opposition defender.
Town were on the ascendancy in the latter stages of the game as Drew Baker nodded an inviting free-kick from Josh Edwards towards goal, with the effort being saved, before substitute Sam Glenfield picked out Omochere 10-yards away from goal soon after, but he fired just over.
Town XI: Stolarczyk (GK), Wiredu (Thompson 87’), Devlin (C) (Teale 46’), Mendes Gomes (Glenfield 62’), G.Garner, Omochere, Hayes (McMillan 76’), Johnston, J.Edwards, Baker, White (Boyle 62’).
Unused subs: Donaghy (GK), Bird.
Barrow XI: Lillis (GK), Taylor (Warren 75’), Rooney (C), Owaduokei (Neal 75’), Waters (Whitfield 46’), White, Zuk, Kenlock, Moyo, Ray, Stevens (Gotts 84’).
Unused subs: Moloney (GK), Brough, McClelland.