Fleetwood Town were held to a 1-1 draw with Carlisle United in the Papa Johns Trophy on Tuesday night, with the Cumbrians winning the penalty shootout to take the extra point.
On what was a cold summers night, it was a competitive cup fixture between the two sides which were separated by Joe Garner’s close-range goal at the start of the second half, before Duncan Idehen netted a goalmouth scramble just a couple of minutes before the final whistle to take it to penalties.
Substitutes Callum Morton and Danny Andrew both found the back of the net in the shoot-out, but it wasn’t meant to be as Taylor Charters stepped up and scored the winning penalty for the hosts, meaning they take two points from the clash.
Town had a blistering start to the game as they managed to create three opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes. Dan Batty found the head of Brendan Wiredu for the first one, with Michael Kelly saving well to keep it out, Shaun Rooney had a header of his own, which was on target, but was stopped.
The wings seemed to be the way forwards for the Cods in the opening period as nine minutes in, Josh Edwards cut in from the left and drove towards the defence and, if it wasn’t for a perfectly timed challenge from Ryan Carr, he would have been through on goal.
Pressure carried on amounting on the Carlisle defence as J.Garner managed to get on the end of a looping Rooney cross from the right, which needed to be stopped. Soon after, Cian Hayes worked a chance of his own, dribbling inside the box, but placed his effort the wrong side of the far post.
The home side started to find their feet 20 minutes in as they forced Jakub Stolarczyk into a few quickfire saves. A strike from Jack Stretton flew just high and wide of the goal, with shots form Sonny Hilton and Omari Patrick, both on the edge of the area, needing to be saved by the Leicester-loanee.
A free kick for Carlisle followed this as Owen Moxon stood over it 25 yards out, with the shot flying over the crossbar. Town then reacted to this as Batty saw his shot on goal blocked by Duncan Idehen before J.Garner latched onto a cross from the right, but Kelly cleverly saved his header.
Carlisle had a late flurry of attacks just before the break as J.Garner, now at the other end of the pitch stopped Moxon from 15-yards, with the follow-up going wide of the target. Hilton had another shot from range soon after this as well, which was stopped by a brave dive from Drew Baker.
With the first chance of the second half, Town managed to take the lead. Rooney rose highest to get on the end of Batty’s looping corner kick, with J.Garner being placed perfectly to latch onto the header and poke home from two yards out.
Chances were few and far between after this as the game's tempo slowed down. It wasn’t until just after the hour mark when Carlisle went forwards through a Taylor Charters run, who passed the ball across the face of goal, but luckily for Fleetwood, substitute Danny Andrew was there to clear it up.
With 17 minutes to go, a moment of magic was almost made by Rooney as he picked the ball up at right back and stormed forwards, cutting inside past multiple players, but his eventual effort with his weak foot was blocked and cleared.
In the 81st minute as substitute Callum Guy found a yard of space around the Town area and decided to try his luck, but Stolarczyk was there to match the strike, pushing it over his cross bar and keeping his clean sheet intact.
The hosts pulled the game back to level terms with seconds to go in normal time as a goal mouth scramble saw Stolarczyk keep out two efforts from less than six yards, but Idehen managed to get a toe on the ball after this and push it just past the line which meant the game would go to penalties.
Even though Jordan Gibson fired the first penalty into the crossbar for the hosts, they ended up coming out winners of the shootout as Kelly managed to save Batty’s spot kick before Vela struck the cross bar. Charters stepped up for the fifth and final penalty for Carlisle, which found the back of the net.
Carlisle XI: Kelly (GK), Moxon (Guy 68’), Patrick (Ballado 39’), Hilton (Mellish 80’), Charters, Whelan (C), Ellis, Harris, Carr (Gibson 68’), Stretton, Idehen.
Unused subs: Holy (GK), Armer, Back.
Town XI: Stolarczyk (GK), Wiredu (Raffie 69’), Devlin (McMillan 79’), Vela (C), J.Garner (Muskwe 69’), Hayes (Morton 79’), Nsiala, Batty, Rooney, J.Edwards (Andrew 53’), Baker.
Unused subs: Lynch (GK), Teale.