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Fleetwood Town 3-3 Tranmere

5 August 2012

There was sunshine and goals galore at Highbury as Fleetwood Town and Tranmere Rovers drew 3-3 in front of an attendance of 977.

By David Mitchell and Harry Andrews

There was sunshine and goals galore at Highbury as Fleetwood Town and Tranmere Rovers drew 3-3 in front of an attendance of 977.

Both sides will have benefited much from an entertaining encounter with the new league season fast approaching. After a pre-season drought twelve months ago, four in midweek against Kilmarnock plus strikes from Barry Nicholson, David Ball and Andy Mangan today would have pleased the watching management. Promisingly as well, new signings were involved in all of Town’s goals.  However, defensive frailties continue to dog Town and will be a priority area as the management enter the last week of preparation before the massive Capital One Cup Tie against Nottingham Forest. Town hosted League One opposition for the second time in eight days as Micky Mellon’s former side, Tranmere Rovers, visited Highbury.  The Town manager acknowledged the travelling Tranmere fans prior to kick-off and received a generous response in exchange. Town’s starting eleven featured latest signing, Gerard Kinsella, in midfield.  Kinsella has impressed as a triallist and is due to put pen to paper next week.  Tranmere’s right back, Danny Holmes, played three games on loan for Town early last season. Town had a chance shortly after kick-off in the second minute, a Jon Parkin free-kick from 25 yards narrowly clearing Fon Williams crossbar. Kinsella shot from distance soon after but straight at the ‘keeper. Town passed the ball confidently, with the impressive David Ball setting up Mangan after six minutes. Tranmere showed their threat when Jonathan Tehoue forced an athletic save from Scott Davies. However, the Rovers were exposed on the counter attack from the corner. Mangan fed through Nicholson who strode onto the ball and comfortably slotted past Fon Williams on the 10 minute mark. Tranmere retaliated, Zoumana Bakayogo’s miscued shot from close range glancing off the crossbar and out of play. Once again though, Town opened up the Tranmere defence when their opponents least expected it. Shaun Beeley floated a long ball over left back Paul Black. The impressive Ball brought it down and sweetly struck home into the corner. Sadly, Ball’s game ended soon after with injury forcing the goalscorer to be replaced after 20 minutes by England ‘C’ skipper, Danny Rose. Rovers struck after 22 minutes when Joe Thompson’s corner was met in the air by Bakayogo, rectifying his earlier miss with a powerful header. The Superwhites pushed for an equaliser. Thompson was causing more problems and had several efforts in quick succession but somehow, the Town defence held out. Again Thompson provided a dangerous cross from the corner spot. Ash Taylor met the ball with his head, only for a deflection to guide the ball onto Davies’ bar. Jon Parkin came close to adding Town’s third on the half hour. The big striker found space, and his fierce, curling effort was denied by the post. The next highlight of the game was courtesy of the same man. His snap shot from distance caught Fon Williams off guard but the ‘keeper was pleased to see the strike glide over into the away stand. Nathan Pond replaced McNulty at half-time and was immediately called into action. His clearing header denied the lurking Bakayago at the far post. This was followed by two goals in as many minutes.  Parkin supplied a teasing cross for Mangan to nod in at the far post but Rovers struck back immediately, Taylor heading strongly past Davies from a Thompson cross. There was a flurry of activity from the Tranmere bench on the hour, with three replacements brought on by manager, Ronnie Moore. Although Tranmere applied pressure and had the majority of the possession Town’s back four resisted.  Jamie Milligan replaced Jamie McGuire with twenty minutes left.  Tranmere’s persistence paid off in the 74th minute, Tehoue outpacing Pond down the middle before calmly placing the ball wide of Davies. Conor McLaughlin replaced Kinsella and as the afternoon sun beat down strongly, Town saw more of the ball coming forward. Competing well with opposition from higher leagues can only be an advantage for Micky Mellon’s men, and hopefully these experiences will impact Fleetwood’s performances in the 2012-13 campaign. Town: Davies, Mawene, Howell, McNulty (captain), Nicholson, McGuire, Parkin, Kinsella, Mangan, Beeley, Ball. Substitutes: Rose (Ball), Pond (McNulty), Milligan (McGuire), McLaughlin (Kinsella) Attendance: 977

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