Barrow 1 Fleetwood 3: Matete magic helps Town qualify in Papa John's Trophy
Jay Matete’s stunning first goal for the club launched Fleetwood’s second-half fightback that secured safe passage to the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy.
Matete’s left-foot screamer after 48 minutes brought Simon Grayson’s side level before Ryan Edmondson netted after 55 minutes, then assisted for Max McMillan to complete a deserved comeback success after 66 minutes
Not even an unscripted four-minute stoppage after a floodlight failure could take the shine off Town’s latest success, worth another £10,000 to the Cod Army from the competition’s prize fund.
Fleetwood still have a derby group game against Accrington Stanley to negotiate but whatever the outcome, the Lancashire rivals can’t be knocked out of the top two positions.
Town kicked-off searching for a second victory in the competition after a Callum Morton hat-trick helped them to a 4-1 win over Leicester City's Under-21s in August.
League Two Barrow, however, proved a different proposition in the first half , with last Saturday’s victory at Mansfield Town hoisting the Bluebirds into the top seven.
Ex-Carlisle and Accrington striker Ozzy Zanzala gave the hosts a deserved interval lead and but for keeper Billy Crellin, Town could have been further behind at the break.
Crellin made a superb save from the same player after 20 minutes and also kept out a tamer effort from Leeds loanee Robbie Gotts.
George Williams flashed a header wide as the Cumbrians made light of testing weather conditions.
Fleetwood weren’t without chances, with Edmondson fractionally shy of connecting with a Chiekh Thiam cross.
McMillan should have punished Jamie Jones’ slack control but his angled low shot was turned away for a corner by Josh Lillis.
Barrow’s goalkeeping coach was one of three goalies in Mark Cooper’s 15-man squad. Two others, Paul Farman and Scott Moloney, were named among four substitutes.
However, it was no surprise when Barrow took the lead. Williams pushed the ball through a static back line and Zanzala nipped in ahead of Crellin to poke the ball home.
If Barrow bossed the majority of the opening period, Fleetwood took control of the second from the off, with the strong wind at their backs.
However, it still took Matete’s fantastic strike to bring the teams level three minutes after the restart.
Racing forward, he unleashed a stunning left- foot 25-yard drive that left Lillis clutching at the night air.
Having obtained parity, Fleetwood took the lead six minutes later.
Max Clark crossed from the left into the area and Edmondson, who added the other goal to Morton’s hat-trick against Leicester, pounced for the second goal of his loan spell.
Edmondson wasn’t finished and was instrumental in making the game safe after the contest had resumed following the extinguishing of a couple of floodlights.
He outpaced Joe Grayson, son of Town boss Simon, before calmly crossing into the area for McMillan to roll the ball home.
Matete hit the crossbar with another fizzing drive in injury time as Fleetwood coasted to victory.
Fleetwood: Crellin, Andrew (Raffie 80), Johnson, Thiam, Clark, Thompson (Hayes 80), Batty, Matete, Teale, McMillan, Edmondson; Subs not used: Wright, Camps, Garner, Biggins, Bird.
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