Ball grabs two in seven-goal thriller at HighburyFleetwood Town were narrowly beaten in a seven goal thriller against Championship side Wigan Athletic.
Two David Ball strikes and a Bobby Grant penalty ended pre-season with plenty of positives despite defeat against a strong Wigan side.
Town started out the better side and after just three minutes Conor McLaughlin played a ball down the right towards Ashley Hunter. His header found David Ball who raced clear only to fire wide.
But they didn't have long to wait before the deadlock was broken when Hunter's cross found Ball who bundled the ball across the line to give the Cod Army the lead.
That lead didn’t last long as just four minutes after the opening goal, Wigan equalised through a short corner by David Perkins, who passed the ball to Power. After a successful one-two on the edge of the box, Power drilled his shot underneath Chris Neal.
Fleetwood were then on the back foot as in the 17th minute, Yanic Wildschut found himself with the ball on the edge of the Fleetwood area. He then laid the ball off to their goal-scorer, Power, who passed the ball wide of the left-hand post.
Town’s right back tried to restore the sides lead in the 23rd minute but McLaughlin’s lone run only led to a 30-yard right footed long shot which flew over the bar.
With just ten minutes’ left in the first half, Wigan took the lead through a Gilbey run down the right wing, who then passed the ball towards the edge of the box towards incoming midfielder, Luke Burke who released a hot which received a deflection and completely wrong footed Neal.
Wigan doubled their lead just two minutes later as Wildschut sent Nathan Pond the wrong way and released a thunderbolt of a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to make the game 3-1.
After the half-time break, Fleetwood made a double substitution by replacing Ricardo Kip and Nathan Pond with Keano Deacon and Cian Bolger. Wigan also made a change by swapping Wildschut for Michael Jacobs.
The second half started with a goal as just five minutes in, Ball scored his second of the night by rifling the ball into the bottom left corner of the net from the edge of the area.
In the 52nd minute, Wigan substitute Jacobs dipped the ball over the wall after he stood over a free-kick from 20-yards. Neal was left stationary as Jacobs sent the ball flying into the bottom left corner of the net to make the game 4-2.
Fleetwood closed the gap to just one goal in the 55th minute as Bobby Grant dispatched a penalty that was won by Ball. To win the penalty, the striker ran into the box and was tripped by a stray leg from a Wigan defender. The penalty was coolly finished into the bottom right corner.
The game was then filled with another round of substitutes as Nick Haughton, Joe Davis, Devante Cole and Aaron Holloway replaced Ball, Hunter, Grant and Ashley Eastham. Wigan also made a change as James Barrigan was brought on for Sam Morsy.
As the game started to come to a close, substitute Cole had a chance to equalise the game as he managed to get in behind the Wigan back line, nicked the ball passed the rushing Jaaskelainen but only managed to place the ball wide of the left post.
The attendance for the Friday night fixture was 1,717 with 247 away supporters.
Despite the defeat there were plenty of positives for Town, non-least the display of Holloway who really caught the eye from the bench.
FTFC: Chris Neal, Conor McLaughlin, Eggert Jonsson, Ashley Eastham (Joe Davis, 68), Nathan Pond (Cian Bolger, 45), Ricardo Kip (Keano Deacon, 45), David Ball (Nick Haughton, 61), Bobby Grant (Aaron Holloway, 68), Michael Duckworth, Ashley Hunter (Devante Cole, 68), Trialist.
WIGAN: Jussi Jaaskelainen, David Perkins, Max Power, Alex Gilbey, Sam Morsy (James Barrigan, 59), Will Grigg (Jordan Flores, 79), Jake Buxton, Craig Morgan, Luke Burke, Yanic Wildschut (Michael Jacobs, 45).