MATCH REPORT: Accrington Stanley 2 Fleetwood Town 1

Paddy Madden scores for Town
Paddy Madden scores for Town

Fleetwood Town's 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat was marred by the sight of Wes Burns being stretchered off.

It was a fiery affair at the Wham Stadium with Burns injured in just the 20th minute.

The winger was left with an open wound on his right shin after Lamine Kaba Sherif's challenge left him grounded.

Referee Darren Handley did not book the player but Town man Harrison Biggins would be shown a straight red card minutes later.

Those two incidents rocked Town with Wilson Carvalho and Sean McConville's second half goals sending Stanley towards a cup victory.

Paddy Madden popped up with a late penalty but 10-man Town could not find a last-gasp leveller in a game that was tarnished by some questionable refereeing decisions.

For once the EFL Trophy had some merit as boss Joey Barton got the opportunity to give some of his first team squad a start.

Competition for places has been rife but with Stoke City loan star Harry Souttar on international duty with Australia Barton gave Ash Eastham his first start of the season.

Eastham has had to bide his time in the opening seven games with Kyle Demspey also rewarded for his cameo in the 2-0 defeat to Lincoln City with his first start of the campaign.

Striker Ched Evans was the third Town man to make his first start of the term as he replaced top scorer Paddy Madden in the centre of the front three.

Number one Alex Cairns lost his place in goal to Matt Gilks for the 1-1 draw with Wycombe but was back between the sticks for this Trophy clash.

Attacker Ash Hunter was also recalled the starting line-up after impressing off the bench at Lincoln as the five replaced Souttar, Madden, Josh Morris, Gilks and Paul Coutts.

Evans scored on his second Town debut in the 2-0 win over Accrington in the league last month.

And he was nearly a thorn in Stanley's side once again as he tested the palms of Toby Savin.

It took a diving fingertip save to tip Evans' bobbling strike away at the near post as a strong Fleetwood Town side looked to bounce back from that defeat at Sincil Bank.

But Town would be rocked by an injury blow to attacker Burns.

The Welshman was grounded after a bad challenge from Lamine Kaba Sherif.

The Accrington man did not find himself in the book despite Burns requiring treatment on the pitch after the challenge had left him with a twelve inch cut on his right shin.

He was stretchered off in clear pain in the 20th minute with boss Joey Barton uncertain what the extent of the injury is.

That saw Morris enter the fray but the tackles would soon fly in, with Kaba Sherif upending another Town man.

Kaba Sherif flew in with a lunging tackle that sent Dempsey flying but only picked up a booking for the challenge.

But referee Darren Handley would have his red card out minutes later.

Harrison Biggins slid in on Sean McConville right in front of the dug-out in the 25th minute.

As the Accrington man rolled theatrically on the ground the referee looked to have dug a yellow card from his pocket.

But as the melee subsided the referee appeared to change his mind and sent Biggins for an early bath.

It would have been fair to say that if that was a red card challenge then Kaba Sherif should have been off the field too.

But with tensions bubbling John Coleman would soon voluntarily bring the youngster off the field.with Sam Finley entering the fray.

Accrington had no luck in their 2-0 League One defeat at Highbury with McConville able to feature despite a three match ban for violent conduct in that clash.

That league suspension does not count in the EFL Trophy and he had a point to prove after he was shown a straight red card for raising his hand to Evans last month.

With Town down to 10-men Barton reshuffled his pack and shifted from 4-3-3 to a 4-4-1 formation.

Hunter and Morris took on wide midfield roles with Rossiter and Dempsey in central midfield.

Evans was deployed as a lone striker but Accrington used that man advantage to ask questions on the flanks.

Accrington targeted Town's wings but they could not find a way to beat Cairns.

Andrew was caught out by McConville but his tame effort flew to safety as Town held firm.

But Stanley went for the jugular at the start of the second half.

Once again they did not really test Cairns in goal but they made their dominance pay in the 52nd minute.

Wilson Carvalho picked up the ball just outside the box and tried his luck, his strike nicked the toe of Jordan Rossiter and sailed into the bottom corner.

But after the hosts took the lead Town came back fighting.

Barton's men dominated possession with Evans causing chaos in the box.

He was thwarted once again by Savin but they would be punished on the counter by Stanley.

Barton had sent Madden on for Hunter and switched from 4-4-1 to 4-3-2 as he looked to find a way back into the game.

But it would be Stanley who got the all important second goal.

McConville danced past Coyle on Town's right before sweetly curling the ball into the bottom corner in the 72nd minute.

He might have seen red at Highbury but he certainly made his mark on this EFL Trophy clash.

The tackles continued to fly in as the game drew to a close but Town escaped further casualties.

Though they did get a goal for their efforts.

Ross Sykes was ruled to have handled the ball in the box and Madden stepped up to convert the subsequent penalty kick.

The forward made it five for the season and Town would have one last chance to level.

Keeper Cairns sprinted into the Accrington box for a Josh Morris corner.

The ball fell to Andrew in the box but he blazed the ball, and Town's hopes of a spectacular comeback over the bar.

Accrington: Savin, Hughes, Edwards, Sykes, Sherif (Finley, 30) Pritchard (Charles, 70), McConville, Maguire, Barclay, Bishop, Carvalho. Subs not used: Evitimov, Johnson, Francis-Angol, Rodgers, Bolton.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Clarke, Eastham, Andrew, Rossiter, Biggins, Dempsey, Hunter (Madden, 69), Evans (Saunders, 73), Burns (Morris, 20). Subs not used: Gilks, Coutts, Sheron, Hill.