|Jason Gilchrist scored the first goal|
We had an older squad to call on this week, with a number of players, unable to take part last week, making their 1st appearances of the season. New scholars Alex Whitmore and Nathan Lowe came in after recovering from knocks. Charlie Holt dropped to the bench to be replaced by one of next year's scholars Waqas Azam. There was also a bench place for Andreas Bianga who will also sign on as scholar next year. Finally alongside Whitmore at centre half was trialist Odun Obebi.
Playing on the riverside pitch it was the Clarets who made the best of the early running. We had the lion's share of possession but perhaps our passing was not as crisp as it could have been. In the fifth minute schoolboy Brad Jackson was set free down the right and was taken out by the Fleetwood keeper, careering out of his area. He was probably saved from dismissal by the fact it was virtually on the touchline, but he did pick up a yellow card.
We almost gifted a goal to the visitors as Whitmore miscontrolled on the edge of his box, but Callum Jakovlevs was alert and stood tall to block the attempt at goal. We created chance after chance during the first half hour but just couldn’t break the deadlock. Jason Gilchrist shot at the keeper with Jamie Frost well placed. Gilchrist then had one chalked off by the ref after a good advantage from a foul on Frost. Christian Hill crossed from the left and Gilchrist volleyed home, but he had strayed into an offside position.
Totally against the run of play we were a goal down though. A challenge in the box by Obebi was slightly mistimed and the ref rightly called foul and awarded the spot kick. Up stepped the Fleetwood forward and he smashed it past Jakovlevs. It didn’t change the pattern of the game though and once more Claret attacks began.
A one-two down the left between Frost and Hill led to the winger forcing a double save from the keeper. Gilchrist then made an angled run across the box and flashed a piledriver just wide of the post. He followed this up with a run through the middle and a cute chip that just cleared keeper and bar. The forward was also felled in the box but saw his penalty claims fall on deaf ears. Further efforts from Frost and Hill couldn’t find a way past the keeper and we ended the half trailing, with the crowd wondering if it was just going to be one of those days when a goal just could not be found.
The half time talk from Pash can only have been ‘keep doing the same thing’ and we restarted with no personnel changes. We really stepped up a gear though and Jackson cracked a shot against the bar, while Lowe hit a free kick over the top. It took around twenty minutes of the 2nd half but we finally achieved parity. It was a fast and fluid move which ended with Captain Luke Gallagher squaring the ball for Gilchrist to stroke home. The speed at which we were moving the ball from back to front was rally causing Fleetwood problems.
We made some changes with Lewis Nuttall replacing Jackson and Bianga coming on for Lowe and chances continued to be squandered. Gilchrist sidefooted at the keeper when well placed. Frost volleyed over and then drifted offside in the next attack to see another Gilchrist goal chalked off. The ref had a bit of a kop out when the visiting keeper did a carbon copy of his first half foul on Gilchrist, but a corner was awarded instead and no foul call meant no second yellow.
As we pushed and pressed for a winner there was a massive chance when Nuttall cut the ball back but both Frost and Gilchrist were blocked. As Hill steamed in to pick up the ball he was hauled back giving us a direct free kick, but the dead ball came to nothing.
With only minutes remaining we got the goal our play had deserved. Nuttall surged through the middle of the park and played a slide rule ball through for Gallagher and he clipped it past the keeper. Fleetwood were broken and from the restart lost possession, allowing us to attack again and score a quick fire third, with Frost rising to nod in a deep cross at the far post.
Tenacious play from Bianga as time wound down almost forced an error in the visitors defence, but they cleared their lines and the ref signalled the end to the game.
We may be able to call on more experience soon with Jack Errington and Luke Conlan back in training, but without them the schoolboys are playing well and gaining valuable experience.
Team:- Callum Jakovlevs, Waqas Azam, Christian Hill, Alex Whitmore, Odun Obebi (t), Nathan Lowe (Andreas Bianga), Luke Daly, Brad Jackson (Lewis Nuttall), Jamie Frost, Luke Gallagher, Jason Gilchrist.
Subs not used:- Charlie Holt, Billy Hasler-Cregg.