Fleetwood Town's Under-18s beat Stockport County 1-0 at Edgeley Park to seal a place in Round Three of the FA Youth Cup.
Will Johnson’s 62nd minute strike was the difference in Greater Manchester as the captain struck well from 18-yards to set up a Third Round tie against Bristol City.
The match took place at Stockport’s Edgeley Park on Tuesday 22 November, and it was the visitors who had the first chance of the match. They forced a corner after a lovely attacking move, but the set-piece didn’t come of anything.
Stockport reacted well and had two chances to take the lead in the match. First, Jack Jones burst into the Town penalty area and pulled his shot across the goal mouth, inches away from hitting the far post.
Five minutes later, Cody Johnson delivered a peach of a free-kick into the penalty area, and it was Tom O’Brien whose header bounced off the woodwork – a great opportunity.
Fleetwood were under the cosh, and this time it was Keane Barugh’s long range effort that troubled Town’s keeper Stephen McMullan – but the Northern Ireland international did well.
The game settled down after a frantic start, which pleased the Cod Army as it gave them chance to regroup and go again in the Second Round cup tie. This led to Fleetwood getting their best chance of the match.
Following a corner, it was pinball inside the Stockport County penalty area, with neither Town player able to get their foot on the ball. Then two minutes later, another corner caused County issues, but the ball alluded all those inside the 18-yard box.
McMullan was involved a lot during the game and was called into the action. Kimonda and Johnson had efforts, but Town’s keeper pulled off two fantastic saves to keep the score level.
Stockport did have a penalty in the first half, and once again McMullan was on hand to deny the hosts from taking the lead. Fleetwood’s outfield players had one man to thank going into the break all square.
It was a bright start for Fleetwood in the second half. Josh Kearns struck one well from long range, but his effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
Town made a change which saw Mikey Lane come on for Sam Glenfield. The young forward had an instant impact and should have made it 1-0 to the visitors.
Lane met the cross from wide well, headed it onto the post, then Zane Marsh saw his effort cleared off the line and then his second attempt went over the ball.
Town did finally open the scoring just after the hour mark. Johnson fired the away side in front with an effort from the edge of the penalty area. Just what they deserved for their efforts in the second half.
Once again, the hosts reacted well to Town being on top and when Dallas Omoruyi got in behind the Fleetwood back line, he was denied again by the tall Irishman, McMullan.
Fleetwood nearly sealed the win after breaking down the right wing, but when the ball found the Town striker, it was County defender Luke Partington who was in the right place at the right time to clear the danger.
Stockport pushed and pushed for a late equaliser to send the game to extra-time, but it’s Town who go through, with Bristol City their next opponents in the competition.
Town XI: McMullan (GK), Khela, Arthur, Johnson (C), Hughes, Kearns, Jones, Namputu, Glenfield (Lane, 49’), Brown, Marsh
Bench: Cragg (GK), Hand, Roberts, Imasuen, Richmond, Daha