Fleetwood Town picked up their second win of pre-season after an impressive 3-1 victory away at Carlisle United on Saturday afternoon.
The home side took the lead in the match in the 9th minute of the match through forward Jack Bridge after Christie Elliot’s cross into the box. The forward managed to guide his header across goal past Alex Cairns.
Paddy Madden equalised just before the interval from the penalty spot, with Harrison Biggins grabbing the second from close range with a header at the far post. The third came from Madden with a close range tap in.
The game started in normal pre-season fashion you could say with both teams looking to get hold of the ball, and then keep it from their opponents and Fleetwood did that well until the 9th minute.
The opening goal of the match came after a misplaced pass in the Town back line. The Cumbrian side capitalised and with the ball swung back post by Elliot, Bridge was unmarked to head the ball across goal into the far corner.
Fleetwood didn’t let that early goal get to them and once they got the ball, they looked to play forward, break through the lines and when they did that they unlocked Pressley’s side, and if it wasn’t for Byron Webster, Madden would have levelled the scoring.
Harry McKirdy looked dangerous for the hosts, and when there was an overload of blue shirts on the left hand side, he managed to pull the ball onto his favoured right foot to curl it goal wards. Cairns was there to deny.
Town’s best chance fell to them five minutes from the interval. Summer signing Harry Souttar picked out wing-back Ryan Rydel on the left side and with one touch to control, the second to deliver he picked out Madden inside the box. Unfortunately the Irishman failed to hit the target from a tight angle.
The waves of attacks kept coming and when Madden’s strike partner McAleny broke forward, he was fouled on the edge of the penalty box by Webster – with the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Madden stepped up and coolly sent the goalkeeper Collins the wrong way, seeing him score his first goal of the new season! Just what Town deserved.
McAleny then hit the post after Rydel found him on the wing. The 26-year-old has looked lively again after an impressing first-half display at Port Vale on Wednesday night.
Out came the players for the second-half, with no changes for Fleetwood – a game where the head coach wanted to get more minutes into his players legs ahead of the next two matches against Burnley and Preston North End.
Town enjoyed long spells of possession in the early stages of the second interval, and with patient build-up play down the right, Coyle managed to chip the ball back post to the on-running Biggins, who headed the ball home from six yards.
The Cod Army made changes on the hour mark with Eastham, Coutts and McAleny making way for the trialist, Barry Baggley and midfielder Jordan Rossiter. With Carlisle tiring, it was a tactical move for Town’s head coach.
Rossiter was straight into the action and after a ball back on set-piece, the 23-year-old wrapped his left foot around the ball, aiming it towards the far post, and hitting the crossbar. Another fantastic opportunity for Town to extend their lead on the road.
They did extend their lead through Madden. After Josh Morris’ free-kick was saved by Collins, he was quick to pounce on the ball and guide it home for his second of the afternoon.
With more changes for both sides in the last 15 minutes of the friendly match, the game settled down in terms of chances, but Town still impressed with their passing and movement - which caused Pressley’s side a lot of problems throughout the match.
Fleetwood now look forward to welcoming Premier League outfit Burnley to Highbury on Tuesday night. Ticket details can be found here.
Carlisle XI: Collin (GK), Elliot, Mellish, Jones, Scougall, McKirdy (Charters 67’), Thomas (Hayden 46’), Webster, Galloway, Bridge, Knight-Percival.
Subs: Gray (GK), Barnes, Lightfoot, Bell, Birch, Brunt, Armstrong, Kerr, Branthwaite
Town XI: Cairns (GK) (Crellin 75’), Coyle (Southam-Hales 75’), Rydel (Hills 80), Biggins (Matete 80’), Eastham (Trialist 61’), Souttar (Sheron 75’), Burns (Mooney 75’), Coutts (Rossiter 61’), McAleny (Baggley 61’), Morris, Madden (Saunders 80’)