Date: 3rd October 2017 at 10:41pm
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Morecambe went into their Checkatrade or EFL Trophy Northern Group A clash at Fleetwood third in the table before the game. Sounds good, doesn`t it? Sadly though, given that the league consists of just four teams, only Leicester City`s Academy side lay beneath them prior to kick-off on the basis that they had lost 3-0 to tonight`s hosts at Highbury whereas Morecambe had lost just 0-2 in a pretty lame display against Carlisle United at the Globe Arena on the same evening late last August. Jim Bentley made it clear before his team failed to put in a competitive performance against Carlisle that he took this competition seriously. But what of tonight`s opponents? Town were top of the table after their display against Leicester`s youngsters and manager Uwe Rosler made it clear his attitude towards the Checkatrade Trophy clash with the Shrimps on the club`s website: “We want to win the game. We know it will take us to the next round – which for us is the key.” Simple statement; simple ambition; simply expressed: but would it be simple for the Cod Army on the pitch?

In all truth, it was, more or less. A game played before a sparse crowd in very windy conditions throughout was fairly even in the opening period during which Alex Kenyon saw his header cleared off the Fleetwood line by Jack Sowerby with ten minutes played. Town`s players didn`t seem to have their shooting boots on until their first strike on target opened the scoring. When Wesley Burns produced a wonder strike after 25 minutes with a right-footed shot from a long way out which beat Danijel Nizic all ends up in the Shrimps` net, the home team restored the position they have enjoyed more often than not when the teams have met during the Cod Army`s meteoritic rise from obscurity to serious EFL contenders in recent times. And this is – very sadly from Shrimps` supporters point of view – ahead in almost every sense of the term in relation to their hosts from a short distance north up the Irish Sea coast. Having said that, Rhys Turner mis-controlled the ball after 34 minutes with just the keeper to beat and Cian Bolger made a perfect last-ditch tackle to keep him out but Fleetwood ended the first half on the front foot when another cracker of a shot from Baily Cargill smashed back off the crossbar.

Morecambe got back into a match with a bizarre Own Goal when Elohor Godswill Ekpolo deflected a shot from Aaron McGowan which seemed to be going wide past his own goalkeeper – Chris Neal – after 51 minutes. The critical moment of the game after 73 minutes also involved the same Morecambe player when he scored what could be interpreted as an even more bizarre own goal than he had caused earlier, turning a cross from Wes Burns past Nizic to put Town into a position which their visitors never seriously challenged afterwards and, in doing so, securing all three points for the Cod Army tonight.

With Leicester City`s youth team winning at Carlisle tonight, Fleetwood found themselves at the top and Morecambe at the bottom of the Northern Group A table after the game with precisely zero points on the board.

Fleetwood Town: 1 Chris Neal; 4 Aiden O`Neil (24 Ashley Nadesan 70 mins); 9 Wes Burns; 12 Cian Bolger (C) (6 Nathan Pond 45 mins); 13 Joseph Maguire; 15 Harvey Rodgers; 20 Elohor Godswill Ekpolo; 22 Ashley Hunter; 23 Markus Schwabl; 28 Jack Sowerby; 38 Baily Cargill.

Substitutes not used: 21 Alex Cairns; 7 Jordy Hiwula; 14 Victor Nirennold; 24 Harrison Biggins; 30 Michael Donohue.

Morecambe: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Aaron McGowan; 16 Sam Lavelle; 22 Max Muller (6 Dean Winnard 58 mins) (17 Mitchell Lund 70 mins); 14 Luke Conlan; 4 Alex Kenyon; 8 Andy Fleming; 24 Michael Rose (C); 10 Adam Campbell; 19 Reece Deakin (11 Kevin Ellison70 mins); 18 Rhys Turner.

Substitutes not used: 20 Niall Maher; 3 Patrick Brough; 26 Steve Yawson; 27 Luke Jordan.

Ref: Eddie Ilderson