Fleetwood 2 Morecambe 0

David Ball celebrates his goal
David Ball celebrates his goal

Fleetwood Town are one step away from Wembley as they cruised into the Northern Area Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy

David Ball and Jimmy Ryan were on target as Town continued their cup run - dominating against League Two Morecambe

Fleetwood's transformation under Steven Pressley has made them a more aggressive beast a quality they were keen to demonstrate against League Two opposition.

But for a few minor wobbles it was all Fleetwood in the early exchanges, Town running former Highbury favourite Shaun Beeley ragged as they marauded down the right.

But for all the pressure, Fleetwood created few real chances.

Bobby Grant seemed too keen to shoot when better options were available on the overlap - sending two efforts spinning wide from 20 yards out.

Tariqe Fosu had the other problem, the little winger showing his class on the ball but proving a little shot shy, always looking for an extra yard, a final pass when the goal seemed at his mercy.

At no point was this more apparent that when Tony Thompson, Morecambe's calamity keeper, cleared straight into the path of the on-loan Reading man.

The keeper was off his line, an opener was there for the taking.

Fosu instead tried to feed Grant, another ex Highbury man, Tom Barkhuizen chasing in to defuse the situation.

Barkhuizen, with Blackpool until last summer, was Morecambe's magic man - involved everywhere for the Shrimps.

His long throw caused some trouble for the hosts, Peter Murphy almost taking advantage in the confusion that followed as Fleetwood, momentarily made a hash of clearing their lines.

But it was Morecambe who absorbed the majority of the pressure, Fleetwood gradually edging closer to grabbing the lead.

David Henen tested Thompson, his curling shot from outside the box, tipped around the far post.

Antoni Sarcevic then picked up a cleverly placed Ryan pass on the edge of the box, his blast deflected over the bar.

Eggert Jonsson took the prize for the most obvious missed chance, completely wrong-footing the Morecambe defence with his run, getting a head on Ryan's corner but somehow unable to get the ball under the bar from barely four yards out.

Town just couldn't find their cutting edge, hindered in equal measure by a troublesome wind and Morecambe's grim determination.

Of course, taking advantage of opportunities served up on a plate would have helped, Ryan's set piece delivery particularly poor, the midfielder attempting to keep his efforts low but struggling to beat the first man.

Fleetwood should have been ahead by the break, the execution failing to match the openings they created - an issue which showed no sign of being resolved in the immediate aftermath of the interval.

An adventurous charge from Conor McLaughlin lit the Fleetwood touchpaper, Amari'i Bell ever so close to charging down Thompson, the drop unkind for Town who again lost their momentum.

Grant did his best to try and up the ante, charging in at the back post and firing from six yards, Thompson making up for his earlier errors with an excellent block to deny the hosts a scoring chance.

The visitors had offered very little but, with the wind to their backs, suddenly found a way to trouble Town.

In tricky conditions an aerial bombardment suited the League Two side more than Fleetwood, who had Amari'i Bell to thank when a scramble in the box nearly took the ball over the line.

It wouldn't have been pretty but it certainly was effective, Fleetwood taking time to recover their composure.

Eventually they did but the chances has stiffened Morecambe's resolve.

Steven Pressley decided it was time for a change, Fosu, tricky but too keen to over-complicate replaced by David Ball.

And the change very nearly paid off, Ball winning a corner after some neat interplay with Henen, Grant's corner headed agonisingly over by Sarcevic.

But Ball was to make his mark minutes later, Ryan running with purpose down the right, picking the runner.

It was Ball into the box, pouncing six yards out, a cute flicked finish hitting the bar and, for a second looking like rebounding out, eventually dropping beyond the line at the back post.

Fired up Town could easily have added to their tally immediately, Henen breaking down the left, taking a touch too many, trying to correct the angle, Thompson closing him out and forcing the shot wide.

The on loan Everton man would go closer still on Town's next advance.

Ryan again played in Ball, Thompson with an excellent sprawling save to deny the sub as he raced clear and let fly with a stinging shot, Henen on the rebound but again shooting wide.

For all Fleetwood's creativity it was a Morecambe mistake which saw off the tie with 15 minutes remaining.

Two Morecambe men got under each other's feet, Grant taking advantage, diving onto the loose ball.

Forward Fleetwood poured, queing up to finish.

Ryan took the honours after Grant himself stumbled under a challenge, taking no chances with a blast from all of four yards.

It was all Fleetwood needed - Morecambe seemed determined not to collapse under waves of Fleetwood pressure.

The visitors were stretched, a point almost proved by Nick Haughton as the sub skipped onto the receiving end of another perfectly placed pass, Town breaking one last time in numbers, Kevin Ellison the party-pooper with a superbly timed challenge in the box.

No matter, Town now face Barnsley and will fancy their chances against the Tykes.

Having come so close to a Wembley final in 2014 in the same competition, Fleetwood will be fired up for the Roses challenge to come.