Fleetwood Town ended their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 victory over Championship side Preston North End on Friday night at Highbury.
The only goal of the match came in the second-half through substitute Ash Hunter, and when he received the ball from Harry Souttar, there was only one result for the Cod Army.
Just like Tuesday night, Fleetwood started off the better of the two sides and it was Barton's men that had the first chance of the match. Town full back Danny Andrew did well to get past his defender on the last side and then to pull to ball back to Wes Burns, who should have made the Preston keeper work from that distance.
Summer signing Josh Morris took a knock midway through the first half after a strong challenge from Darnell Fisher. The attacker was taken off the pitch; let’s hope it too serious with the new season starting a week on Saturday.
Ash Hunter was the replacement and within two minutes, he created his own opportunity by cutting in on his right foot from the left, looking to curl it into the corner, however Ripley was there to deny Hunter opening his account for the season.
Preston’s first chance came five minutes the interval. Ryan Ledson gambled on a flick on from his strike partner and went to cutely chip the ball over Alex Cairns, only to see it hit the top of the netting.
Alex Neil made one change at the break, and that saw fans favourite David Nugent come off, and be replaced by Louis Moult.
At the start of the second half, you’d have to say Preston took control of the second half, and with a set piece in a very dangerous area, it was Graham Burke who tried his luck from 25-yards out, but his effort went narrowly wide of the top left corner.
Despite the Lilywhites’ chance moments earlier, it was Fleetwood who took the lead through Hunter. The forward took his goal nicely after Harry Souttar brought the ball out of the back, and threaded a lovely weighted pass for him to finish past Ripley.
Burns nearly doubled Town’s lead moments later. Hunter was the provider this time with Burns striking his effort goal bounds, without the getting the connection he would have wanted.
Burke was Preston’s main threat, and again he tried the spectacular from the far side. Billy Crellin was scrambling across his goalmouth, but it was a routine save for the England Under 19 goalkeeper.
Crellin was in the action again and this time he pulled off a smart save down the middle after Daniel Johnson hit one from distance.
Dan Mooney should have made it 2-0 to the Cod Army after went one on one with the Preston goalkeeper, but the Welshman failed to take advantage.
Fleetwood now head into that first match of the season against Peterborough with a win under their belt, with many positives to take from the matches against Premier League side Burnley and Preston.
Town XI: Cairns (GK) (Crellin 61’), Coyle (Southam-Hales 72’), Andrew (Rydel 72’), Clarke (Eastham 61’), Souttar, Burns (Mooney 72’), Biggins (Sowerby 61’), McAleny (Madden 61’), Morris (Hunter 23’), Coutts © (Baggley 72’), Rossiter (Sheron 72’).
Preston XI: Ripley (GK), Fisher (Rafferty), Earl, Harrop, Johnson, Storey, Ledson, Burke (O’Reilly 84’), Stockley, Huntington ©, Nugent (Moult 46’).
Subs not used: Crowe (GK), Simpson, Walker, Armer.