Everton Under-21 0 Fleetwood Town 4: No fireworks on the touchline but plenty on the pitch as Joey Barton's team impress at Goodison

Impressive Fleetwood cruised into the Northern quarter-final of the Leasing.com Trophy thanks to a ruthless win away to Everton's Under-21s.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 10:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 1:41 pm
Fleetwood players congratulate Paul Coutts on scoring their second goal at Everton
Fleetwood players congratulate Paul Coutts on scoring their second goal at Everton

The Cod Army were clinical when required as they turned on the style - particularly late on - at Goodison Park.

Lifelong Everton fan Joey Barton named a strong starting XI as he geared up to face the Toffees' young guns.

There were six changes from the side which beat Tranmere in League One at the weekend, but talented teenage keeper Billy Crellin kept his place.

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And there was plenty of first-team experience in there as Lewie Coyle, Peter Clarke, Danny Andrew, Wes Burns, skipper Paul Coutts, Ash Hunter and Ched Evans all started.

The resplendent Goodison Park stadium was sparsely populated but the home supporters who did turn out got a chance to watch former £13.5m star - and now forgotten man - Oumar Niasse in the hosts' side.

Anyone expecting sparks to fly on the touchline as Barton faced up to opposite number David Unsworth will have been disappointed.

Any past animosity between the pair, following Barton's criticism a couple of years ago when working as a radio pundit, had clearly been forgotten as they embraced warmly.

Once the action got under way on the pitch, the Cod Army grabbed themselves a dream start.

There was barely 90 seconds on the clock when Coutts' corner was met superbly by Andrew, who volleyed clinically past keeper Harry Tyrer from 15 yards.

Evans fluffed a headed opportunity soon after as Barton's men flew out of the blocks, but the threat from Senegal international Niasse was clearly evident too, particularly when he drove inches wide in the 23rd minute.

Anthony Gordon wasn't quite so close to a breakthrough in the 38th minute, when he really ought to have done much better when left unmarked on the edge of the Fleetwood box.

The Cod Army opened the second period briskly, though it took until the 56th minute to create a presentable opportunity.

Burns produced a neat cross from the right, but his target Evans didn't make a good enough contact with his shot, which bounced before being comfortably saved by Tyrer.

The young Toffees had their own chance to grab a lifeline when awarded a free-kick just outside the Fleetwood box, but Antony Evans curled a well-hit effort just the wrong side of the post.

Barton made a double switch after an hour, introducing regular first XI pair Kyle Dempsey and Josh Morris.

It was Morris who went on to be the provider of Fleetwood's crucial second goal in the 75th minute.

He teed up Coutts, who lashed home low into the corner from 22 yards.

It was definitely 'game over' four minutes later, when substitute Paddy Madden rounded Tyrer and tucked home from a tight angle with his first contribution to the game.

And Burns made it four three minutes from time, side-footing easily past a stunned Tyrer.

Fleetwood: Crellin 7, Coyle 6, Clarke 7, Dunne 6, Andrew 8, Burns 8, Coutts 7, Sowerby 6, McAleny 5 (Dempsey, 61, 6), Evans 7 (Madden, 77, 6), Hunter 6 (Morris, 61, 7); Subs not used: Cairns, Souttar, Southam-Hales, Sheron.

Referee: Michael Salisbury