MATCH REPORT: Carlisle 1 Fleetwood 2
It was Burns' night for Fleetwood Town in the Checkatrade Trophy once again as forward Wes fired Town through to the next stage of the competition.
Burns built on goals in Town’s previous group wins over Leicester U23s (3-0) and the 2-1 win over Morecambe by netting the second in a 2-1 win over Carlisle that ensured Town finished top of group A.
The club’s passage to the next round was already secured after Leicester and Morecambe could only draw last night but first half goals from Jack Sowerby and Burns propelled Town on the way to their second cup victory in the space of 48 hours as they built on their FA Cup heroics at Chorley.
Despite that 2-0 lead at the break Carlisle came out reinvigorated in the second half and pulled a goal back as Shaun Miller mopped up the rebound after Chris Neal had denied Danny Grainger from the spot.
But Town held on and now head to MK Dons in the league on the back of securing a double financial boost with back-to-back cup wins.
Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler made 11 changes for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at League Two side Carlisle.
Rosler named a full new side from the team that started Monday’s FA Cup 2-1 victory at non-league side Chorley on Monday.
Sowerby scored the winner that night and his fellow Victory Park super sub Burns who set-up Devante Cole for the equaliser at Victory Park was also rewarded with a start at Brunton Park after those match winning cameos.
Due to just a 48 gap between the games it was an opportunity for Rosler to give his young guns a chance with Town handing four new official EFL numbers to young development squad stars defenders Lewis Baines, Luke Higham and Nathan Sheron and the club’s U18 team midfielder Dominic Kerrigan.
Sheron made his debut in the back three with midfielder Harrison Biggins also making his first senior appearance for the club in midfield.
Chris Neal also got the nod in goal ahead of Billy Crellin who took his place on the bench fresh from winning the U17 World Cup with England last month.
With Lewie Coyle now set to miss the next three league games due to his red card for a lunge on Jake Cottrell at Chorley it was a chance for Harvey Rodgers to stake his claim for a starting spot at MK Dons on Saturday though it was a far from spectacular stint in the role Coyle had made his own during his loan spell from Leeds.
Carlisle had the first chance as Reggie Lambe blasted over but Sowerby was confident after his Chorley heroics and got his eye in early as he fired over the bar.
And the hosts did not take that warning as Sowerby played a one-two with Burns before smashing in his second in as many games in the 11th minute.
Devitt was Carlisle’s biggest threat and he went close minutes later after pouncing on a Godswill Ekpolo header but he could not keep his strike on target.
Other than that Devitt chance it was all Fleetwood as Rosler’s mix of development players and first team fringe stars showed their higher league quality.
Sowerby was in the action once again as with no Geroge Glendon in the side he was given set-piece responsibility. He fizzed a corner from the right towards the run of Godswill at the top of the box, his first time effort was fierce but Shamal George managed to bat the ball away.
Miller twice nodded wide before Town doubled their lead just before the break. Biggins’ shot was spilled by George into the path of Burns who nodded in the rebound in the 44th minute.
It was a convincing first half showing from Town but the second half saw a rejuvenated Carlisle attempt to stop Fleetwood roaring on.
Rosler made a change at the break with Cargill making way for Higham to make his first team debut for the club. That change also signalled a reshuffle at the back with Godswill given a chance to show what he could do at right wing-back with Rodgers moving into the back three.
Neal marked his return to the starting line-up with a spectacular save in the 47th minute. Carlisle had caused panic in Town’s box but Neal was on hand to recover as he somehow managed to use his cat-like reflexes to claw away his ex-Shrewsbury team mate Devitt’s header off the line.
The hosts whipped numerous probing crosses into the mix though despite Town looking vulnerable and Neal at times flapping no blue shirt was on hand to mop up and punish the visitors for their complacency.
With Rodgers and Godswill already putting their cases forward for a right wing-back role Victor Nirennold was given 21 minutes to audition for the Saturday spotlight. He nearly made his mark with a goal as he surged in behind the Carlisle defence to latch onto Schwabl’s fine pass that sent him sprinting one-on-one though his touch was too heavy and a huge chance sailed comfortably into the arms of George when Town should have made it three.
Miller fired wide and Neal twice saved a close range effort from Cosgrove and then Grainger’s free-kick though he was to be denied a clean sheet moments later.
James Brown had got the better of Town’s left wing-back Maguire and as he raced along the back line he tumbled under pressure from the defender with referee Martin Coy taking no time to point to the spot.
Grainger stepped up and Neal guessed the right way, diving to his left and cannoning the ball back to Grainger who could only divert the ball back towards the keeper who saved once again though he could not stop Shaun Miller blasting home in the 84th minute.
Carlisle pushed on for a leveller but the closest they came was through substitute Luke Joyce’s thunderous effort, it looked to be screaming towards goal but instead thudded into Carlisle man Tom Miller who was left with a headache as the ball fizzed out for a goal kick.
Fleetwood: Neal, Ekpolo (Nirennold, 69), Sheron, Cargill (Higham, 46), Rodgers, Sowerby, Biggins, Schwabl, Maguire, Nadesan (Donohue, 73), Burns. Subs not used: Crellin, Hunter, Baines, Kerrigan.
Carlisle: George, Miller, Grainger, Parkes, Jones (Joyce, 66), Devitt, Cosgrove, Brown, Lambe (Rigg, 77), Miller, Ethuhu (O’Sullivan, 66). Subs not used: Bonham, Liddle, Hope, Nabi.
Referee: Martin Coy.
Attendance 909 (Fleetwood 42)