Leeds United required penalty-kicks to advance into the EFL Cup second-round last night as they overcame Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium, having been held to a 2-2 draw by the League One club after 120 minutes of play.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s first-half goal for Fleetwood was cancelled out by Marcus Antonsson’s equaliser with just a minute of normal time remaining.
Chris Wood converted a penalty four minutes into extra-time, before Ashley Hunter added the fourth goal of the game in the following half to haul the fixture to a shootout finale, on a wet and windy summer evening on the Fylde Coast.
Wood, Antonsson, Alex Mowatt, Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez converted their subsequent kicks from 12-yards, while veteran stopper Rob Green was the hero as he denied Eggert Jonsson from the spot to secure the Yorkshire outfit a visit to Luton Town in the next round later this month.
For the game against his former employers, Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler made three alterations to the side that earned a point on the opening day at Northampton Town. Nathan Pond, Bobby Grant and Hunter made way for Cian Bolger, Amadi-Holloway and Devante Cole respectively.
Leeds head coach Garry Monk made five changes to his starting XI from their Championship defeat to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Sunday, as Hernandez, Hadi Sacko, Liam Cooper, Phillips and Lewis Coyle were all involved from the off.
It was the hosts who engineered the inaugural opportunity of the tie with just 47 seconds on the clock, when Cole galloped onto a loose ball, prior to arrowing a fierce right-footed shot across Green’s goal, however his strike whistled narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
Fleetwood then broke the deadlock after 13 minutes, courtesy of powerful forward Amadi-Holloway, who profited from Victor Nirennold’s knock-down from David Ball’s floated cross from the right to steer the ball beyond Green from close-range.
Amadi-Holloway could have doubled his and the Cod Army’s tally in similar circumstances to his goal. The Welshman manoeuvred space from a knock-down to aim a volley that was thwarted off the line by Kyle Bartley.
Up the other end, Kemar Roofe nearly levelled proceedings, but having chested the ball down, he unleashed a half-volley which was well matched by goalkeeper Chris Neal.
As the half drew to a conclusion, Wood’s penalty claim was waved away by referee David Coote, before Neal had to be alert again, clawing away a drive from 20-yards by Roofe.
The first chance of the second-half went the way of Leeds. Former Fleetwood loanee Charlie Taylor advanced down the left-side to deliver a cross towards Wood, though the New Zealander glanced a header into the travelling support.
Roofe angled a free-kick wide Neal’s left upright, while Monk’s men could have been two behind, as Ball stole possession, prior to moving play onto the substitute Hunter, who turned a shot over the bar.
The impressive Roofe, a £3m summer recruit from Oxford United, caused Town’s backline issues once again with just over 20 minutes left, when he gained space to guide a well-struck shot from 25-yards towards goal, that swerved just wide of Neal’s right-hand post.
Hernandez was next to try his luck for the men from Elland Road, cutting inside from the left to draw a smart save from Neal.
Antonsson broke Fleetwood hearts to force the game into extra-time after 89 minutes. The Swede connected with a cross from the left, to swivel beyond Conor McLaughlin and lash the ball past Neal into the roof of Town’s net.
In extra-time, Leeds were awarded a penalty after Ashley Eastham was adjudged to have brought down Antonsson from Roofe’s dinked through-ball. Up-stepped Wood, who confidently struck his spot-kick into the bottom left corner after 94 minutes to put the visitors in the ascendancy.
Hunter sent the encounter to penalty-kicks after 111 minutes, when Jonsson cut play back from the right to the feet of the unmarked striker, from a central position, he hooked the ball right-footed with aplomb, which beat Green to nestle into the far left-corner.
The tie was settled on penalties, and after both sides netted their first four kicks successfully, Hernandez dispatched, meaning Jonsson had to score. The Icelander’s penalty was saved by Green to his right, which ensured Leeds triumphed in the shoot-out, defeating their third-tier opponents 5-4.
Fleetwood – Neal, McLaughlin, Bell, Jonsson, Eastham, Ryan (C), Amadi-Holloway (Hunter, 60), Ball (Grant, 72) Bolger, Nirennold, Cole (Pond, 81).
Leeds United – Green, Bartley, Cooper (C) (Bamba, 45) Roofe, Wood, Hernandez, Taylor, Phillips, Sacko (Mowatt, 65), Viera (Antonsson, 76) Coyle.
Attendance: 3,322 (1,325 away)