LANCASHIRE SENIOR CUP: Fleetwood 1 Blackpool 0
Fleetwood striker Nick Haughton's late strike saw off Blackpool in a less than thrilling local derby at Poolfoot Farm.
Haughton’s 82nd minute rocket from just outside the box clinched Town’s youngsters a place in the next round of the Lancashire Senior Cup at their plush £9m training complex.
It was virtually the only notable piece of action in a lacklustre 90 minutes that was filled with a number of neat, intricate passes but no killer instinct until Haughton popped up late on.
The only concern for Town fans was the sight of first teamer Martyn Woolford bloodied and bruised after a clash of heads with Blackpool centre half Lewis Wainwright.
Wainwright’s head was bandaged up and he was able to play on but Woolford, who scored Town’s second in their 2-0 win over Coventry in League One left the pitch bleeding from a cut above his left eye and was pulled off as a precaution ahead of head coach Uwe Rosler’s side’s clash against Charlton at Highbury on Saturday.
Fleetwood fielded a number of first team fringe players with Joe Davis and Cian Bolger in central defence, new Sheffield United loanee Kieran Wallace at left back and young Kieran Dunbar on the right.
Manchester City loanee George Glendon started on the left of a midfield three with Oliver Roberts in the middle and Jack Sowerby on the right.
Fleetwood had opted for the 4-3-3 system favoured by the first team with new boy Martyn Woolford, who scored in Town’s 2-0 League One win over Coventry on Saturday starting on the left of a front three alongside young duo Nick Haughton and Keano Deacon.
Whilst Blackpool first team squad members Luke Higham and Henry Cameron also made an appearance as the Seasiders opted for a young side.
Blackpool had the first chance of the game as Dylan Sumner rolled a corner short to winger Henry Cameron who fizzed the ball in towards Christian N’Guessan on the edge of the six-yard box but he smashed the ball the wrong side of the left post and into the side netting.
Fleetwood were forced into an early change after Woolford picked up a cut above his left eye from an aerial challenge and was replaced by Thomas Grant.
Town dominated possession but Nick Haughton’s strike was deflected wide and Glendon’s curling effort flew straight down Myles Boney’s throat..
Blackpool’s N’Guessan nodded way over and Town central midfielder Roberts smashed the ball just wide of the right stick and substitute Grant blasted the ball way wide of the of the opposite post as the half wore on.
Glendon was felled by Newton on the left wing in the 42nd minute and the Blackpool man received a yellow card for his troubles whilst Town nearly took the lead from the subsequent set-piece.
Roberts lifted the ball in towards Davis at the near post but his glancing header just dropped the wrong side of the back stick.
Cameron wasted the best chance of the game in the 49th minute.
The young New Zealand winger, who is continuing his recovery from a bad anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained on international duty, stormed clear on the left of the box and honed in on goal. As he drew Cairns closer he lifted the ball up, over and towards the far stick but it just fell wide.
Like in the first-half Fleetwood bossed possession but it was Blackpool who continued to show more threat up top as substitute Dunne found space outside the box before smashing the ball straight at Cairns.
Town midfielder Roberts tried his luck from outside the box and sent the ball fizzing over the bar and Bolger also nodded Haughton’s corner from the right off target.
Haughton’s deflected effort was collected at the second attempt by Boney as the clock ticked over the 70 minute mark.
Roberts was once again on hand to shoot just outside of the box after a neat pull-back by T Grant but he fizzed the ball inches wide of the left stick.
T Grant looked ready to pounce after Boney dropped Sowerby’s right wing cross under pressure but the referee ruled the young Scot had fouled the shot-stopper and gave the visitors a free-kick.
Despite Town’s increased pressure the game looked destined to go to a penalty shoot-out before Haughton popped up.
The striker found space outside the box and curled the ball into the bottom left corner with eight minutes to spare.
Glendon went down in the box and appealed for a penalty after what appeared to be a tug-back from one of the light blue shirts and ‘Pool nearly grabbed a late leveller as Fleetwood failed to clear their lines in the box, Dunne pounced but his shot on the turn clattered into Cairns.
Deacon used his pace to tear down the right wing, along the back line and lured Boney towards him before sliding the ball towards Glendon at the last second but the midfielder’s sliding touch kissed the bar before trickling wide.
It was to be the last chance of the game as Fleetwood clinched a place in the next round.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Dunbar, Davis, Bolger, Wallace, Sowerby, Roberts, Glendon, Woolford (T Grant, 15), Deacon, Haughton. Subs not used: Urwin, Myers, Baines, Mooney.
Blackpool: Boney, Newton (Dunne 46), Williams, Higham, Richards, Cameron (Flynn, 60), N’Guessan, Wainwright, Agyema-Badu, Sumner, Rufus (Chea, 66). Subs not used: Sims.