Fleetwood Town narrowly fell short in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night as they lost 1-0 to Premier League side Everton at Highbury.
The Cods put in a good show against the Toffees on the Fylde Coast, with Cian Hayes going close on multiple occasions, but the visitors were the only side who could manage to find the back of the net and that was through a first-half strike from Demarai Gray.
Both sides started the game slowly as they looked to get a hold of the ball in the opening stages of the cup clash, with chances from Ged Garner – which had to be blocked by Amadou Onana – and Dwight McNeil – whose strike from range was stopped by Drew Baker – being the only meaningful efforts in the first 15 minutes.
The Premier League side then managed to put some quickfire efforts together in the next few minutes. The first coming from Alex Iwobi, who was picked out by Nathan Patterson, but the shot went high and wide of Jakub Stolarczyk’s goal, with the second being another from McNeil, but he dragged the shot wide from 12-yards.
Town then grew into the game as a corner was whipped into a dangerous area, looking for the head of Joe Garner, but it was dealt with well by Michael Keane to head it away. Soon after, Cian Hayes drove forwards and tried to pick out the head of J.Garner again, but the cross was slightly overhit.
The away side managed to break the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, just after a good chance from Salomon Rondon fizzed wide of Town’s goal. A defensive error from Brendan Wiredu saw Everton pick up the ball in an advanced position with Gray eventually finding the back of the net with his strike.
Scott Brown’s side did respond well after the goal as they looked the more likely to grab the next one as Cian Hayes saw Asmir Begovic save his effort before Shaun Rooney cut in from the wing, but the shot from his left foot was blocked and cleared.
Just before the break, Hayes was picked out brilliantly by G.Garner, with the winger then cutting onto his left foot and forcing a diving save from Begovic, just before Harvey Macadam saw his strike from range deflected into the path of Everton's keeper, making it an easy save.
The first quarter of an hour in the second period was dominated by Fleetwood, with a header from a deep free-kick forcing a diving save from Begovic and J.Garner picking up the ball from a corner kick, but his half-volley was blocked and cleared. Everton’s only chance in this period came from Patterson, whose effort was saved by Stolarczyk.
After a raft of changes from both sides, it was Everton who created some chances in the latter moments of the game as Amadou Onana and Rondon both had their strikes at goal blocked and cleared by a stern Town defence.
Town XI: Stolarczyk (GK), Andrew, Wiredu (Vela (C) 46’), J.Garner, G.Garner (Omochere 65’), Hayes (Glenfield 87’), Rooney (Batty 65’), Macadam (White 85’), Johnston, Earl, Baker.
Unused subs: Lynch (GK), Nsiala, Edwards, McMillan.
Everton XI: Begovic (GK), Patterson (Tarkowski 64’), Keane, McNeil, Onana, Gray (Mills 75’), Iwobi, Coleman (C), Vinagre, Rondon, Welch (Warrington 64’).
Unused subs: Lonergan (GK), Crellin (GK), Holgate, Gordon, Mykolenko, Price.