Town lose 3-1 at Rugby ParkAmari’I Bell’s first goal for the Club wasn’t enough for Fleetwood Town as they fell to a 3-1 reserve at Kilmarnock.
Killie went ahead through experienced striker Kris Boyd in the opening minutes but Town responded fantastically to equalise courtesy of a collected finish from Bell.
Fleetwood had plenty of opportunities to put the game to bed but Kilmarnock came to bite back as Boyd added his second before Chris Johnston sealed the win late on for the Scottish Premiership outfit.
Manager Graham Alexander named Conor McLaughlin as a centre half for the match, alongside Nathan Pond.
New signing Lyle Della-Verde started as a left winger, with native Declan McManus up front alongside Jamie Proctor.
On an artificial surface at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock drew first blood with just three minutes on the referee’s watch.
Experienced frontman Boyd, formerly of Glasgow Rangers, pounced in the penalty box following some slow defending from the Cod Army to tap home.
Fleetwood didn’t let their heads drop in front of a strong following from Lancashire and targeted an immediate response.
Scottish U21 international McManus escaped his marker to strike a low effort towards goal which whistled wide of the far post.
Della-Verde was next at it moments later. The winger utilised his pace to beat the Killie defence but his low cross into the penalty box couldn’t find one of the red shirts waiting.
The former Fulham winger was it again on the quarter hour mark, forcing a good save from goalkeeper Jamie McDonald.
Fleetwood’s constant persistence on McDonald’s goal finally paid dividends with 25 minutes on the clock as summer signing Bell grabbed his first goal for the Club.
The quick full back made a clever overlapping run to collect Proctor’s through ball on the left and calmly fired past the keeper to the delight of the travelling support.
Fleetwood were really cranking up the gears and on the half hour mark, should have turned the game completely around.
A last ditch save from the goalkeeper denies McManus from point blank range, and on the follow up Tyler Forbes scuffed an effort wide.
At the other end, Josh Magennis breaks the offside trap to go one on one with Chris Maxwell but he was unable to keep his effort on target.
The final chance of the half fell to a busy Della-Verde, McDonald equal as the half time whistle blew and the teams were level.
The second half kicked off and Graham Alexander made his first change, Nathan Pond replaced by Stevie Jordan.
And Town should have done what Kilmarnock did to them in the first half by scoring a very quick goal at the beginning of the half.
Forbes had an initial shot saved by the goalkeeper and Proctor was on hand with the follow up but volleyed well wide of the mark from a great position.
Forbes, like Bell on the opposite side, was causing Kilmarnock issues with his overlapping runs and the full back felt as if he was tripped for a potential penalty in the 50th minute, referee having none of it!
Like Proctor at the beginning of the second period, McManus had the perfect opportunity to put Fleetwood ahead in the 64th minute. Della-Verde squared the ball back to his team mate, who was in acres of space in the penalty box, who opted to shoot first time to fire harmlessly wide.
A lot of positive signs for Alexander as the visitors were playing well. Midfield architect Ryan played a delightful through ball to Sarcevic to put the 23-year-old in on goal; however he just couldn’t stretch to reach possession.
With 20 minutes to play, Kilmarnock went back ahead, a cruel blow to Fleetwood as Boyd grabbed his second of the match with a tidy finish from a tight position.
Fleetwood responded with two quick changes as Jack Sowerby and Vamara Sanogo were introduced for Proctor and Sarcevic. Nick Haughton followed in the 78th minute for Ryan.
With five minutes remaining, Kilmarnock sealed their victory as Johnston added a third. Fleetwood will now prepare for their next pre-season friendly against Burnley on Tuesday night at Highbury Stadium.
FTFC: Maxwell, McLaughlin (Wright 84), Pond (Jordan 46), Forbes, Andrew, Sarcevic (Sowerby 70), Ryan (Haughton 78), Della-Verde, Bell, Proctor (Sanogo 70), McManus. Subs: Trialist, Cartwright.
Killie: MacDonald, Smith, Findlay, Connolly, Robinson, Boyd, Higginbotham, O’Hara, McCulloch, Kiltie, Magennis. Subs: Samson, Barbour, Hamill, McKenzie, Johnston, Ashcroft, Carrick, Hodge.