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Report: Under-21s defeated by league leaders Sheffield United

19 September 2023

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Fleetwood Town's Development Squad lost to league-leaders Sheffield United on the road this afternoon in the Professional Development League at Shirecliffe.

Braces from Antwoine Hackford and Fernandinho Macedo, along with goals from Ryan Oné, Anis Slimane seal the victory for the hosts, with the Blades maintaining their perfect start to the league with 15 points from five games.

Fleetwood had their moments late on, but it will be one to put behind the lads quickly with games coming quickly and fast in the Professional Development League.

It wasn't the best start to the game for the Cods as Hackford bagged the first in the 16th minute, with Anis Slimane scoring five minutes later with an outstanding left-footed volley which Tom Donaghy between the sticks couldn't do much about.

The Blades were at it from the first whistle. Femi Seriki had the first strike on target, with Town's keeper on hand to keep the ball out of the net. Moments later, Fernandinho Macedo tried his luck from range but couldn't find the back netting.

The hosts were forced into a change after Evan Easton picked up a knock, with Charlie Staniland entering the field of play. There was a lot of stop-start towards the end of the first half with players picking up knocks or the referee handing out yellow cards, but it was still the hosts who had control of the match.

In the second half, Sheffield United made it three-nil just after the hour mark. Hackford bagged his second of the game with a lovely finish past Donaghy. Town made changes to try and turn it around, but the waves of attacks kept coming and Macedo was on hand to make it four two minutes later.

Maleace Asamoah had Town's first shot of the game, and his effort looked to trouble the keeper between the sticks, but Dewhurst was prepared to deal with the shot on his goal.

Two minutes later, United went down the other end and made it five thanks to substitute Oné slotting one past the keeper.

Will Johnson and Sam Fishburn had chances to close the gap, but both saw their efforts go high and wide.

It will be a day to forget for the Development Squad, who now look ahead to a home match against Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday 26 September - full details to be announced in due course.

Town XI: Donaghy (GK), Wright (Fishburn, 55'), Edwards, Johnson (C), Teale, Wilson (White, 64'), Morrison, Williams, Brown (Namputu, 64'), Asamoah, Hughes.

Subs not used: Cragg (GK), Hoyle.

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