Fleetwood Town’s latest Sky Bet League One outing ended in a defeat to play-off chasing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.
Town started the better side as Ellis Harrison managed to break the deadlock after latching onto a loose back pass, but second-half goals from Elliot Embleton, Luke O’Nien, and Jack Clarke swayed the tie in the home side's favour.
The Cods had the first chance of the game inside the opening two minutes when Paddy Lane and Carl Johnston worked the ball to Danny Andrew on the left. The Fleetwood skipper’s strike forced goalkeeper Anthony Patterson into an early save.
This time, Shayden Morris drove into the Sunderland area from the right flank. However, he was forced away from goal by former-Cod midfielder Jay Matete who turned the winger’s shot behind for a corner.
The hosts came close soon after when Matete lofted the ball over the top for Ross Stewart who latched onto it, but the forward’s touch was too heavy and Alex Cairns was able to pounce.
Just before the half-hour mark, Town took the lead when Harrison latched on to a loose back pass that was intended for the goalkeeper. The forward showed his composure under immense pressure from the crowd and fired past Patterson at his near post.
Alex Neil’s side looked to force a way through after the opener as Elliot Embleton found space on the edge of the area, but saw his effort blocked by the onrushing Toto Nsiala. Minutes later, Clarke came close to finding the net from a tight angle, but Alex Cairns quickly shifted his feet to deny the forward.
In the 55th minute, the home side levelled the score as Embleton latched onto a ball five yards from goal which looped into the back of the net.
Stephen Crainey looked for a response and the Cod Army provided him with one. They came close to regaining the lead when Danny Andrew’s freekick beat the wall and forced a fine diving save out of the goalkeeper.
Fleetwood continued their positive response through the brilliance of Cian Hayes. The ball was glued to the feet of the 18-year-old who under the challenge of a number of Sunderland defenders, retained possession before picking out substitute Ged Garner on the penalty spot. Garner, who controlled the ball eloquently, saw his shot saved.
Sunderland took the lead with just under 10 minutes to play as O’Nien capitalised on Jermain Defoe’s deflected effort and slotted past Cairns.
In the 87th minute, Jules was shown two yellow cards in quick succession after he committed a foul on the near side.
In added time, Sunderland doubled their deficit when Jack Clarke cut inside from the left. He unleashed an effort from the edge of the area which nestled into the back of the net.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew (C), Jules, Harrison (G.Garner 42’), Morris (Thiam 71’), C.Johnson, Baggley (Hayes 52’), Lane, Nsiala, Boyle, Johnston.
Subs not used: O'Hara (GK), Donaghy (GK), Butterworth, Bird.
Sunderland XI: Patterson (GK), Evans (C) (Gooch 46’), Embleton, Stewart, Winchester, Cirkin, Xhemajli (Defoe 46’), Clarke, Wright, Matete, Roberts (O’Nein 71’).
Subs not used: Hoffmann (GK), Doyle, Neil, Hume.