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Pond is back

16 January 2013

Nathan Pond made his long awaited Football League debut last Saturday after more than 300 appearances for Fleetwood Town stretching back to 2003.

By Sam Gilliland

Nathan Pond made his long awaited Football League debut last Saturday after more than 300 appearances for Fleetwood Town stretching back to 2003.

Pond, 27, is Town's longest serving player and his first game in League 2 capped a remarkable journey from step 5 of the non-league pyramid in the North West Counties Division One. In March 2003, Fleetwood players Martin Eatough and Tony Greenwood took charge of playing affairs for the rest of the season. One of Greenwood’s first acts had been to bring an inexperienced but promising 18 year old to Highbury. The youngster made his Fleetwood debut at St Helens Town in front of 81 spectators on 29th March 2003 and after playing in the following two games at Mossley and Congleton Town, he made his home debut against title chasing Clitheroe on Tuesday 15th April 2003.  The first three Town appearances had all ended in defeat. It was hardly the most glorious beginning to what has become a legendary career.  Things were to get better, much better: ‘To be fair I don’t remember much about that first home game but I think we got a result." Fleetwood drew 1-1 against a Clitheroe side entertaining hopes of winning the division.  A crowd of 158 saw Fleetwood score through Frank Cygal. Nathan’s career blossomed with Town and he became a key part of successive sides which gained five promotions.  With 48 goals, he is set to achieve a significant goalscoring milestone as well.  Within that total were some key strikes: "I remember having to go to Newcastle Town to gain promotion and scoring the first to set up our victory.  There are many good memories to look back on and hopefully many more to come.   The four promotions have all been memorable but the fifth, and a place in the Football League, would be incredible." Pond made 40 appearances last season with 1 goal as Town lifted the Football Conference title. The promotion was bitter-sweet for the central defender as he needed to wait 5 months for his Football Leaguie debut. A loan spell at Grimsby Town, with 5 goals in 26 appearances, sent the Mariners to the top reaches of the Blue Square Bet Premier. The loan period finished in early January and Pond was delighted to finally make his first Football League appearance last Saturday. The midfielder came on as a half-time substitute in the defeat to Bristol Rovers for his first taste of action in npower League 2. Pond, who is currently the longest-serving player in the Cod Army with over 300 appearances, was proud to pull on the red shirt once again. He said: “It was a nice day for me personally, to make my first appearance in the Football League, but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way. “Full credit to Bristol (Rovers), they were a very good side". “They were very aggressive and passed the ball very well. They’re scrapping for their lives down at the bottom and it showed.” The 27-year-old spent the last six months on loan at Grimsby Town in the Blue Square Bet Premier, where he notched up five goals in 26 games. Manager Graham Alexander decided to bring Pond back to Fleetwood after a successful period in North East Lincolnshire, and the midfielder now hopes to earn a place in the first-team. “The manager’s been looking at me and hopefully I can nail a first-team place down now,” he said. “I played 45 minutes against Bristol, and I’ll work hard in training this week to try and get a start against Barnet in the next match.”

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