Inverness claim victory over Fleetwood in the HighlandsNathan Pond’s second half header wasn’t enough for Fleetwood Town as they were beaten 2-1 at Scottish Premiership side Inverness on Sunday afternoon.
The Cod Army, who had a Jamie Proctor goal ruled out for offside midway through the first half fell behind just before the interval through a Billy McKay tap in.
Town’s equaliser ten minutes into the second half as Pond, the Club’s longest serving player, looped a header into the roof of the goal, leaving the goalkeeper stranded.
However, Fleetwood’s joy was short lived as Inverness found what turned out to be the winner just two minutes later, James Vincent the man to get it, rounding off a quick counter attacking move.
Graham Alexander opted to play two strikers for the friendly match up against Inverness in the Highlands, with David Ball and Jamie Proctor given the nod.
On a damp Sunday afternoon in the north of Scotland, Fleetwood started the match vibrantly with Ball and Proctor showing early signs of a promising partnership.
Inverness, who finished mid table in the Scottish Premiership last campaign, tried to catch goalkeeper Chris Maxwell out early on in the eighth minute, but Greg Tansey’s right footed strike was always bending away from goal.
Gaps started to open for Fleetwood in the final third, but it was Inverness’ central midfielder Tansey who was taking the shots on goal.
Winning a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box after a Pond foul, the 25-year-old went searching for Maxwell’s left hand post, but the goalkeeper comfortably collected the ball with a diving save.
Chances started to become few and far between, but when the ball did go into the back of the net, the linesman ruled for offside.
A nice move by Fleetwood which was started by Pond, accumulated in Ball diverting a low cross into the penalty box for Proctor to tap home but before Town could celebrate, the linesman had his flag raised.
Three minutes later, and the Cod Army came close again to breaking the deadlock, centre back Ryan Cresswell having a close range effort from a corner deflected over the bar.
The game started to open up and down at the other end in front of the South Stand, former Leicester City and Northampton Town man McKay found a breakthrough on goal, but Maxwell was quick off his line to save with his feet.
Two minutes before the interval, the SPL side went ahead as McKay made no mistakes this time, getting in front of the Fleetwood Town defence to slide home a cross from David Raven.
After the interval, Inverness came close to making it two as Aaron Doran cut inside and took aim for the far post only for Maxwell to fingertip away. Full back Raven came in on the follow up but his effort was way off target.
The game sprung into life in a frantic five minute period for both teams. Fleetwood deservedly got themselves back on level terms in the 56th minute as Club stalwart Pond scored his first pre-season goal.
Winger Josh Morris was fouled on the left hand side, allowing Steven Schumacher to deliver a free-kick into the penalty area for Pond to leap above the Inverness defence and direct a looping header over Dean Brill.
Fleetwood were in the ascendency and looked likely for a quick fire second but unexpectedly, Inverness hit the Cod Army on the counter attack from a corner with James Vincent on hand to finish off the move from close range on the hour mark.
Alexander made his first change in the 66th minute, Matty Blair withdrawn for fellow wide man Gareth Evans. His second quickly followed, Jamille Matt introduced for the hard working Proctor.
And it was nearly a perfect introduction for the former Kidderminster striker, with Inverness losing possession in a dangerous position, allowing Matt to be teed up by Ball inside the box, his effort coming back off the post and going wide.
Fleetwood never took their foot off the pedal against the SPL side as they looked for a way back into the match for the second time.
With six minutes remaining, Alexander introduced some fresh legs into the centre of the park, Scotsman Stewart Murdoch coming on for Schumacher.
In attack, Matt was proving to be a tricky customer for the Inverness back line, with his direct play causing issues for Gary Warren.
However, the hosts held out for the win and Fleetwood will now prepare for their final pre-season friendly in six days time against another SPL side, Partick Thistle at Highbury Stadium.
Inverness: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent, Warren, McKay, Doran, Tansey, Tremarco, Williams, Christie.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Cresswell, Pond, Jordan, Schumacher (Murdoch 84), Blair (Evans 66), Morris, Sarcevic, Proctor (Matt 70), Ball.