MATCH REPORT: Hereford 0 Fleetwood 2
Jamie Vardy is coming home after Fleetwood beat Hereford at Edgar Street to secure a fairytale FA Cup third-round tie with Leicester City at Highbury on January 6.
Cian Bolger broke his goal duck for Town and, like buses, two came along at once as he scored two carbon copy bullet headers, one in each half, to win this replay.Town toiled in the first game at Highbury for a 1-1 draw but this was a comprehensive, comfortable and classy return to form as Rosler’s men answered some recent questions with aplomb at Edgar Street.The home faithful had spent the week shovelling snow off the pitch to ensure this match went ahead but it is Town who will face the Foxes in a BBC-televised tie – the first time in their history Fleetwood have met a Premier League club in a competitive fixture.Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler made four changes for this replay. Kyle Dempsey had not recovered from the concussion that forced him off in the 2-0 defeat at Wigan on Saturday and was replaced by Aiden O’Neill, who had recovered from a knock.Jordy Hiwula, Wes Burns and Baily Cargill all returned to the starting line-up, with Burns selected in the right wing-back role as Markus Schwabl, Nathan Pond and Lewie Coylemoved to the bench, Rosler opting for a 3-5-2 formation.It was a first half performance the Cod Army have been crying out for in recent weeks, with Rosler’s side positive from the off and taking the game straight to the Bulls, silencing the home faithful.They soon achieved that as Hiwula had the ball in the back of the net but was flagged offside after linking up well with Devante Cole.Town continued to press, with O’Neill pushing up to support the forwards, as Hiwula curled the ball wide and Burns nodded the ball straight at keeper Martin Horsell after Sowerby had fluffed a short corner routine.Town’s persistence paid off in the 10th minute as Bolger rose above the pack to nod home his first goal of the season . Town had pushed up and camped in Hereford’s half, with the three central defenders keeping a high line on the halfway line.At times Town looked susceptible to an aerial ball – Cargill had failed to clear his lines before Calvin Dinsley struck at Highbury and the defender looked shaky as the Bulls tar geted him.The gulf between the sides this time told from the off but the Southern Premier Division side grew into the game and did ask questions of Town’s defence, though it was mostly the visitors’ lapses of concentration that raised home hopes. A mix-up between Cargill and Amari’i Bell allowed Keyon Reffell to steal in at an angle on the right. He had the crowd in raptures as his shot rippled the net, though they soon realised it was only the side-netting.Town centre-halves Ash Eastham and Cargill both blasted the ball wide from distance as they pushed up to support their wing-backs, who were deployed more in out and out winger roles as Fleetwood sprayed the ball across the park and utilised their width with ease.It was comfortable but, as they showed at Highbury, the Bulls are no mugs and they woke up to whip a series of crosses and corners into the box in the closing stages of the first half.Such set-pieces have been Town’s Achilles heel this season, though they stood up admirably to the challenges thrown at them by the hosts. Fleetwood were braced for a Bulls onslaught at the start of the second half but that played into Town’s hands, with Cole and company capable of counter-attacking.One overhit cross by Cole led to Hiwula winning a free-kick just outside the box and Glendon fizzed the ball towards goal, but it was blocked by the Bulls.Cole orchestrated a trademark counter as he broke from his own half, with O’Neill and Hiwula racing up.Cole did the right thing by sliding the ball to Hiwula, though his pass was overhit.Hereford pushed up for an equaliser, though despite winning a couple of set-pieces they failed to test keeper Alex Cairns.And Fleetwood roared on, their counter-attacking eventually bringing about the Bulls’ downfall. Cole again was instrumental as he led Town’s charge.The ball eventually fell to Burns on the right flank and his venomous cross was nodded just over the bar by Ryan Green. Town struck from the subsequent corner as Glendon whipped the ball in from the right and Bolger rose above the pack again to nod the ball home.Hereford continued to push up, but despite a couple of Dinsley efforts from distance the Town’s defence held strong and barely gave them a sniff in a strong and sturdy second-half performance.That two-goal cushion gave Fleetwood a renewed freedom in attack, with the fresh legs of Coyle adding some more defensive strength to the right wing and Ash Hunter providing fresh pace.And it was that duo who created Town’s best chances in the dying stages, with Coyle rifling a first-time finish on to the bar and Hunter putting the ball on a plate for the unmarked O’Neill at the back stick, though he scooped the ball over.Hereford nearly made it interesting as Mills bent the ball a whisker past the right post. The Bulls tried to find a way back but the gulf between the divisions was too much, Town showing their class to secure a date with that man Vardy.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Eastham, Bolger, Cargill, Bell, O'Neill, Glendon (Schwabl, 83), Sowerby, Burns (Coyle, 66) Cole, Hiwula (Hunter, 72). Subs not used: Neal, Pond, Nadesan, Biggins.
Hereford: Horsell, Oates, O'Shea, Murphy, Green, Deaman, Preen (Smith, 69), Dinsley, Mills, Reffell, Symons. Subs not used: Page, Preston, Haysham, Bird, Franklin, Harris.
Ref: David Coote.