Only 382 fans witnessed Fleetwood Town’s first ever match in the Checkatrade Trophy, which they won against a young Blackburn XI courtesy of Devante Cole’s strike in first-half stoppage time.
Town had the better of the first-half chances and deserved their lead, though the visitors responded well in the second half but poor finishing cost them.
Fleetwod fielded five of the 11 who started in Saturday’s win at Southend in accordance with competition rules.
There was a debut for latest signing Kyle Dempsey from Huddersfield and first starts for midfielders Martyn Woolford and Michael Duckworth. George Glendon is also in line for a first appearance off the bench.
Ash Hunter starts after catching the eye off the bench with three goals so far this season. And there was a first appearance of the season for defender Joe Davis alongside Ashley Eastham, who captained the side.
Damien Johnson’s Blackburn side had to include six Under-21s in accordance with tournament rules but also featured four players with first team experience, including captain Scott Wharton, keeper David Raya, Ryan Nyambe and Willem Tomlinson.
Fleetwood took the lead against Blackburn on the stroke of half-time from a Devante Cole strike.
Town had the better of the first half chances and deserved their lead after Cole convered Ash Hunter’s cross from close range.
Woolford had almost given them the perfect start in only the second minute.
The debutant met Bobby Grant’s corner from the left with a firm header but keeper David Raya parried well.
Thye young Blackburn side had plenty of possession but their patient build-up play produced few chances.
The closest they came in the first half was after seven minutes, when Ryan Nwambe crossed low and Connor Thomson shot wide.
Michael Duckworth was among Town’s most impressive performers on the right side and on 14 minutes space opened up for him to test Raya from the right edge of the area, but the keeper saved diving low to his left.
Woolford had another chance from Grant’s near pass on 23 minutes but could only shoot across goal from the edge of the box.
Cole had his first sight of goal four minutes later but shot wide.
Eggert Jonsson was expected to come off early and did after 31 minutes, making way for debutant Glendon from Manchester City.
Another good run by Hunter on 39 minutes didn’t produce a finish to match as the striker fired low but well wide.
Grant became the first player to enter the referee’s book three minutes before the break for a shirt-pull on Connor Mahoney.
The half looked destined to end goalless but a quick break by Dempsey two minutes into stoppage time released Hunter down the right and his shot was inch-perfect for onrushing striker Cole.
Blackburn had the better of the second half chances but their finishing was wasteful, while Fleetwood created opportunities to double their lead in the final 10 minutes as the young Rovers side tired.
Hunter sparked the second half into life seven minutes in with a shot from outside the box which Raya was relieved to see fly just wide.
Blackburn’s poor finishing was shown around the hour mark when first Lewis Hardcastle and then Thomson failed to hit the target in good shooting positions. Town keeper Chris Neal was finally tested on 62 minutes but got down low to his left to save from Joseph Rankin-Costello.
They came even closer two minutes later when Lewis Mansell’s firm header from Mahoney’s cross was beaten away by Neal.
Neal couldn’t hold Mahoney’s shot on 74 minutes but Rovers couldn’t capitalise on the loose ball in the box.
Fleetwood started to create chances for a second in the final 10 minutes. Woolford’s superb long ball released substitute Ricardo Kip in space. His low shot looked destined for the bottom corner but wass tipped around post by Raya. Davis had free header from the corner but his effort lacked power.
A minute later, the ball ran loose to Willem Tomlinson in the Fleetwood box but he couldn’t hit the target from a narrow angle.
Substitute Dean Rittenberg came close to a Rovers equaliser on 90 minutes but curled his shot just wide of Neal’s left post with the keeper at full stretch.