Carlisle United went out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the northern area quarter final stage at the hands of league two leaders Fleetwood following a disappointing display at Highbury Stadium.
The Cumbrians created the first opening of the evening when Mark Beck was felled as he battled for the ball in the Fleet half. James Berrett swung the ball to the back stick and Sean O’Hanlon went close when his header was deflected wide.
The visitors found themselves on the back foot moments later, though, when Evans broke at pace down the right hand side. Fleming dived to punch the initial delivery away but Sarcevic pounced to nick the ball as Symington hesitated. His cut back was perfect for the unmarked David Ball to volley into the roof of the net from close range.
Fleetwood kept their foot on the gas and a cross from Jeff Hughes had Sarcevic interested as he stole a yard in the box. A chest down left him with options but his volley rose high over the bar.
The Cumbrians thought they’d equalised immediately when a Symington cross eventually found Buaben. He twisted past two challenges and stepped aside as Brad Potts tried to pick his spot from the edge of the area. The shot had Scott Davies beaten but the stopper was spared by the inside of the post as the ball rattled the work, ran across the face of goal and curled harmlessly behind.
A sliced clearance from O’Hanlon opened the door for Fleetwood once more and they attacked in numbers with Carlisle once more looking stretched. Sarcevic, Hughes and Ball all had air shots as Fleming spread himself to make the blocks with the ball spinning uncomfortably.
Antoni Sarcevic saw plenty of the ball as the home side grew in confidence and Fleming had to beat the ball away as he stepped inside and let one fly. He then robbed possession as Ehmer lost his balance and a corner followed as Carlisle dropped deep to defend. Ball won the header and Buaben came to the rescue with a timely clearance off the line.
The Cumbrians tried to up the pace of their game and a cross from Robson wrong footed Davies as he made his dive. Mark Beck wriggled clear as he tried to get there but the keeper recovered in the nick of time.
More hesitation in midfield brought another attack for the hosts when Ball shrugged Buaben off the ball. His long range effort was diverted for a corner by Ehmer but there was more pressure as Evans and Hughes exchanged passes. Townsend made the first clearance but Ball took control before smashing a shot over the bar from the angle of post and bar.
United huffed and puffed their way through the first half but it was Fleetwood who always looked the more likely as they attacked with pace and poise. Gareth Evans was guilty of a glaring miss moments before the break when he matched Ball step for step with a break from deep inside their own half. A back heel from the nippy forward left the chance on a plate but Evans lost his bearings and rattled it wide.
Carlisle looked brighter following their half time break and a cross from Symington caught in the wind and skipped off the greasy surface. Davies was beaten and he was relieved to see the ball bounce high and over his bar.
Conor Townsend was next to go close when Berrett wound a way through to the byline. His low delivery eventually ended up with Townsend and a crisp connection brought a fine one-handed save from the diving Scott Davies.
Fleetwood were a whisker away from doubling their tally for the evening with their first attack of the second half when Murdoch pushed through the heart of midfield. He fed it to Hughes and his placed shot shaved the upright as it rolled just wide.
And the home side opened up their gap when a huge crossfield pass from the back invited Antoni Sarcevic to try the lob. Fleming scrambled but the damage was done and the ball settled nicely in the bottom corner.
Carlisle looked dangerous again when another testing Berrett cross invited Amoo to go for goal. He had time on his side but he rushed his volley and it fizzed over the target. Symington then had a series of long range free kicks which sailed into the stands but the Cod Army reasserted their authority when Sarcevic ran through to capitalise on a misplaced pass. Fleming reacted quickly to cover the space and make the block.
Schumacher then tried to notch from distance against his former employers as the clock ticked down and the action opened up as Carlisle threw men forward. Gillies had a shot blocked following a slick passing move with Lynch and Townsend and Davies had to be alert when a cross from the left flank threatened to cause problems.
But the pace of the game subsided as full time drew near with man of the match Antoni Sarcevic having one last fling as he popped a shot towards the bottom corner. Fleming spotted it and did well to make the save.
Fleetwood - Ball (6), Sarcevic (54)
United - Berrett (15)
Fleetwood Town - Davies, Murdoch, Roberts, Evans, Schumacher, Hughes (Brown 78), McLaughlin, Cresswell, Sarcevic (Dieseruvwe 85), Taylor, Ball (Parkin 85). Subs - Lucas, Hogan.
Carlisle United - Fleming, Potts, Ehmer, O'Hanlon, Townsend, Berrett, Symington, Buaben (Lynch 66), Amoo (Gillies 66), Beck, Robson (Guy 46). Subs - Brass, Livesey.
Referee - Mr Stuart Attwell
Attendance - 2,446 (493 away fans)