Accrington Stanley 0 Fleetwood Town 1: Match report

Harry Souttar returned from international duty with a bang as his first Fleetwood Town goal secured a 1-0 victory at Accrington Stanley's Wham Stadium.

By Rosie Swarbrick
Saturday, 30th March 2019, 5:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th March 2019, 5:13 pm
Harry Souttar
Harry Souttar

Harry Souttar returned from international duty with a bang as his first Fleetwood Town goal secured a 1-0 victory at Accrington Stanley's Wham Stadium.

Souttar, 20, only jetted back from Cambodia this week after representing the Australia U23 side.

The Socceroos nickname is inspired by the country's famed mammal a kangaroo.

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The animals are known for their jumping ability and it was a giant leap from Souttar to connect with Ross Wallace's corner that secured the points for Town.

The defender has made his mark in defence but added a goal to his fine start to life at Town and jubilantly celebrated with the 447 travelling fans behind the goal.

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton made one change to the side that beat Plymouth Argyle 2-0 earlier this month.

Centre-half Ash Eastham made way for James Husband as Barton shook up his new back three.

The move saw Harry Souttar move into a central role with Lewie Coyle on the right and left-footer Husband on the left.

Ryan Rydel and Wes Burns continued as wing-backs as they stuck with a 3-5-2 formation.

And it was Fleetwood who had the best chances in the opening exchanges despite an injury blow to Jason Holt.

The on-loan Rangers man was stretchered off in just the 14th minute with Nathan Sheron entering the fray.

Ched Evans was thwarted by Evitmov after he was sent one-on-one with the Stanley keeper.

Midfielder Jack Sowerby was to waste a golden opportunity later in the half.

Wes Burns' inch perfect right wing cross found Sowerby unmarked but he failed to hit the target nodding way over.

After those scares Accrington found their bite with a number of late challenges flying in from Barton's men.

Billy Kee had the ball in the net but it was not to be as he was flagged offside.

That let off woke Fleetwood Town up again with Souttar pivotal in a delightful passing move that saw Rydel and Evans combine on the left before Madden bundled the ball wide at the front post.

Sean McConville twice went close for Stanley but the half finished with Jack Sowerby screaming for a penalty as he went down under pressure in the box.

Fleetwood broke the deadlock just five minutes into the second half.

A Ross Wallace corner from the right flew into the path of Souttar, he steamed in to nod home his first EFL goal.

But Fleetwood then had to deal with a response from Stanley who threw everything but the kitchen sink at Town.

But despite pressure and camping in Town's half Accrington could not find that touch of quality in the final third.

Barton made a move to shore up his defence as he withdrew Rydel and sent Eastham into the mix.

That saw Souttar move over to the left of the back three and Town regained a foothold on the game with numerous counter-attacking breaks.

But like the hosts Town could not find that touch of quality in the second half.

McConville, the man who was Stanley's hero in the 1-1 draw at Highbury, should have levelled again but he could only blast the ball off target from an angle at the back stick.

Barton re-shuffled his pack by throwing the fresh legs of Ashley Nadesan on for Ross Wallace.

That saw Madden move deeper and Lewie Coyle and Souttar switched to the opposite sides of Eastham.

Smyth spun in the box but could only curl the ball over the bar but Fleetwood should have put the game to bed in the 80th minute.

Evans' flick-on sent Nadesan steaming through on goal but Evtimov was straight out of the blocks with the forward's touch bobbling off the keeper's knee.

The ball looped up but Nadesan could not convert with Town then forced to defend in the closing stages.

Town defended valiantly but with Doncaster beating Walsall Town could not cut the eight point gap from sixth-spot.

But their faint play-off hopes remain and this hard-fought performance shows Town are not giving up on their season.

Accrington: Evtimov, Hughes, Donacien, McConville, Finley, Sykes, Rodgers, Conneely, Kee, Smyth, Armstrong. Subs: Maxted, Johnson, Richards-Everton, Brown, Simmonds, Sousa, Barlaser.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Burns, Coyle, Souttar, Husband, Rydel, Holt, R Wallace, Sowerby, Evans, Madden. Subs: P Jones, Eastham, Clarke, Hunter, Nadesan, Biggins, Sheron.