MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 2 Morecambe 1

Fleetwood Town manager Uwe Rosler
Fleetwood Town manager Uwe Rosler

Two moments of magic from Fleetwood Town forward Wes Burns sank the Shrimps and fired the Cod Army to the brink of qualification to the next stage of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Town top Group A and have a three point cushion on both Leicester Under-23s and their final group opponents Carlisle with just one game to go and though they are not mathematically through to the knockout rounds it would take mass drama in the final games to stop their passage.

Burns’ fierce 25th-minute strike gave Uwe Rosler’s side the perfect start but after Godswill Ekpolo sliced Reece Deakin’s wayward effort past his own keeper in the 51st minute Town had to find something extra to beat a fierce and stubborn League Two side and it was Burns who produced that golden touch as he sprinted in on the right of the box and whipped in a cross that Aaron McGowan could only divert into his own net.

Fleetwood boss Rosler made 10 changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Charlton on Saturday with Cian Bolger the solitary survivor.

Town will not be fined as the changes in Checkatrade Trophy rules saw them hit the four qualifying outfield players target with Aiden O’Neill and Baily Cargill on loan from Premier League clubs and Bolger, Hunter and Burns all racking up over 40 first team appearances.

It was Morecambe who threatened early doors with Reece Deakin failing to capitalise on a defensive slip by Town as he blasted wide of the right stick and Alex Kenyon’s header from a corner was cleared off the line by Jack Sowerby.

But after those early scares Fleetwood got a foothold on the game and started to look more of a threat on the counter with Markus Scwabl just firing the ball over the bar after a good Burns cross from the right eventually found him on the edge of the box.

And it was Burns who gave Town the lead in the 25th minute. The forward had netted in the first group game, the 3-0 win over Leicester Under-23s and marked his return to the starting line-up with a fine strike as he picked the ball up just outside the box and thundered the ball past Danijel Nizic. Morecambe tested Town’s defence but they remained resolute with Fleetwood nearly exploiting the swirling winds to get a second as O’Neill’s corner from the right nearly flew straight into the net with Cargill also almost diverting it home at the back stick.

And Cargill nearly stole the show on the brink of half-time as he picked up Burns’ pass and rode a challenge before cannoning the ball into the crossbar.

Rosler made one change at the break with skipper Pond replacing Bolger in the middle of the back three.

The Shrimps started the second 45 brightly and deservedly levelled in the 51st minute.

Fleetwood had failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Deakin outside the box, his effort was going way wide of the left stick but with a black and white shirt looming Godswill slid in to ensure the ball was cleared, though he could only slice the ball into his own net instead.

It was a fairly uneventful second half with Cargill a danger in the opposition box as he rose up at the back stick to nod Sowerby’s corner from the right wide at the back post.

With the score still at 1-1 Rosler made a change to try and unlock Morecambe’s defence with Nadesan sent on for O’Neill as they switched from 3-5-2 to a 3-4-3.

And the change paid dividends as Burns was deployed on the right of that three and it was his electric pace that found the breakthrough as he sprinted in on the right of the box before whipping a teasing cross across the face of goal that McGowan turned into his own net.

Morecambe pushed bodies forward as they searched for an equaliser with Pond just flicking a Shrimps header up and over the bar. The visitors also had a big shout for a penalty when the ball appeared to be handled by the Town skipper but referee Eddie Ilderton did not spot it.

But as the game drew to a close it was all Town with the added pace of Hiwula.

He nearly put the game to bed in added time but as he sprinted in on goal he just rolled the ball wide.

Fleetwood: Neal, Rodgers, Bolger (Pond, 46), Eastham, Godswill, O’Neill (Nadesan, 69), Schwabl, Sowerby, Maguire, Hunter (Hiwula, 83), Burns. Subs not used: Cairns, Nirennold, Biggins, Donohue.

Morecambe: Nizic, McGowan, Kenyon, Fleming, Campbell, Conlon, Lavelle, Turner, Deakin (Ellison, 75), Muller (Winnard, 58, Lund, 83), Rose. Subs not used: Maher, Brough, Yawson, Jordon.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton.