Cod Army lose 3-2 against Russian Premier League side
Fleetwood Town’s first game in Austria ended in a 3-2 defeat against Russian Premier League side Terek Grozney in Misebach, Germany.
Graham Alexander’s team made the perfect start through defender Ryan Cresswell however Grozney fought back with Semyenov equalising and Nathan Pond scoring an unfortunate own goal as the Russians led at half time.
Fleetwood showed their spirit in the second period and their efforts paid off as sub David Ball cheekily lobbed the goalkeeper to tie matters.
However, a cruel blow right at the end as Grozney scored an 88th minute free-kick to secure victory through another substitute, George Grozav the match winner.
Fleetwood operated with a lone striker for the game, Jamille Matt the man given the role with Josh Morris, Gareth Evans and Matty Blair offering support in midfield.
From the referee’s first whistle, the competitive side of the game was on show as both teams showed their intent to win the football match in the glorious southern German sunshine.
Anchor midfielder Keith Southern, who joined the Cod Army last month from Huddersfield Town, had the first effort on goal with ten minutes on the referee’s clock.
Side stepping away from the Grozny defence, space opened up for the former Blackpool favourite to try his luck from 20-yards, only to see his effort creep agonisingly wide of Evgeni Gorodov’s post.
In the 14th minute, Fleetwood put the first foot forward with Cresswell climbing above the Russian defence to head home.
The Cod Army were controlling possession against their Russian counterparts but Grozny hit back in the 22nd minute from a set play.
Winning a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box, the ball was swung to the back post for Semyenov to equalise.
Grozny grew in confidence and started to hold their own, however the Town back four were all making vital blocks and tackles to prevent a quick fire second.
Despite Fleetwood’s strong defensive work, the Russians scored their second five minutes before the interval as a mix up in communication between Nathan Pond and Maxwell saw the ball unfortunately bypass the Welsh goalkeeper.
The second half began as the men from England looked for a way back into the game
A long clearance from Cresswell led to a footrace between Matt and the opposition defence.
Winning the ball, Matt dragged the ball back for Gareth Evans, the winger hitting over the frame over the goal from the edge of the ‘D’.
Grozny were handed the perfect chance to extend their lead just before the hour mark. A foul was committed just inside the penalty box from a Fleetwood Town defender.
Ailton Almeyda stepped up to the plate but his spot kick was way off target, going high and wide of Maxwell’s left hand post.
Boss Alexander ran the changes with 20 minutes to play. The Cod Army introduced skipper Mark Roberts, Liam Hogan, Jamie Proctor, Stewart Murdoch, David Ball and Antoni Sarcevic for McLaughlin, Schumacher, Keith Southern, Matt, Matty Blair and Pond.
And the team’s alternations turned Fleetwood’s fortunes as Ball rattled the Russian defence from the off and hit a stunning equaliser.
Collecting a pass from the right wing, Ball cheekily lobbed the goalkeeper as Town drew back level.
Ball and Sarcevic’s movement continually troubled the opposition defence and the pair came close to finding the winning formula for Town.
The move began with Sarcevic playing a delightful through pass to Ball on the left. Cutting inside and away from his marker, Ball played possession back for Sarcevic but Gorodov made an important stop before Ball couldn’t tuck away with the follow up.
Cruelly, Fleetwood’s hard work was wiped out two minutes towards the end as Grozny hit the fifth and what turned out to be the winning goal.
A free-kick from 20-yards by substitute Grozav creeped through the Fleetwood Town wall and into the bottom corner.
The full time whistle went as the Russian Premier League side ran out 3-2 winners, but it was another solid workout for Fleetwood as they prepare for life in League One.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin (Hogan 67), Jordan, Pond (Roberts 67), Cresswell, Schumacher (Murdoch 67), Southern (Sarcevic 67), Morris, Evans, Matt (Ball 67), Blair (Proctor 67)
Not used subs: S. Davies, M.Hughes, T. Davies, Hughes
Grozny: Gorodov, Warken, Jose, Almeyda, Kydriashov, Semyenov, Ivanov, Komorowski, Ribyus, Utsieb, Levendenko.