Fleetwood Town played their last pre-season friendly at Poolfoot Farm on Saturday, where they beat National League North side Darlington 4-0 – thanks to a hat-trick from Paddy Madden and a goal from Wes Burns.
Madden opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the game, and Burns managed to add a second before the half-time break. Madden carried on his form in the second half, completing his hat-trick with seven minutes to go in the game.
The first chance of the game fell to the Cod Army as captain Paul Coutts played the ball out wide to Burns. He then pulled it back to Madden, on the edge of the box, who tucked it away.
Darlington’s first effort came in the 23rd minute as Will Hatfield cut in from the left and tried his luck from range, but his shot was straight at Joel Coleman – who made an easy save.
Fleetwood packed on the pressure and created a flurry of chances, with the first almost leading to an own goal by Darlington’s David Atkinson. With his header going just over his keeper’s bar, it meant Fleetwood would have a corner.
Soon after, Coutts whipped the ball into the box, towards the back post and Harvey Saunders, who rose well but his header was pushed wide by the visiting side’s trialist goalkeeper.
From the second corner in a minute, Coutts looped the ball towards the back post, linking up with Saunders yet again. His header went back into the box and Burns converted the chance by tapping it in from five yards.
Darlington finished the first half strong, creating multiple chances. The first of those fell to Jarrett Rivers on the left-wing, who found himself with a yard of space and tried his luck from range, which went just over the bar.
The final chance of the half came just a minute later as Justin Donowa got on the end of a short cross from the right, he turned towards goal but his strike was straight at Coleman – making it easy for him to save.
Fleetwood came out the stronger side in the second half, creating multiple chances early on. Barry Baggley, in the 51st minute, dribbled up to the edge of the box and struck a low-driven shot towards goal, which had to be saved at the near post.
A couple of minutes later, Callum Camps made a run from the halfway line to the Darlington Box, where he decided to try his luck, with his effort again being saved by the opposition’s goalkeeper.
Darlington almost found a way back into the game just before the hour mark as Luke Charman got on the ball, after a good piece of passing play, and struck the ball onto the near post, troubling substitute keeper Alex Cairns.
Shayden Morris, who replaced Barry Baggley early in second half, was pivotal in creating the next few chances. A trialist dribbled through a wall of defenders, before crossing the ball to Carl Johnston at the back post. He headed the ball into the box where S.Morris was, who forced a diving save from the keeper.
Soon after, S.Morris went on a run down the right-wing, he was dispossessed and our trialist right-back took over, and after a few touches, he was fouled in the box meaning Fleetwood had a penalty. Madden stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
The final chance of the game came from a corner as a trialist whipped it in, aiming for the penalty spot, and Madden rose highest and clinched his hat-trick in the game, heading it into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Everyone at Fleetwood Town would like to thank Darlington for today’s match and wish them all the best for the upcoming season.
Fleetwood XI: Coleman (GK), Andrew, Baggley, Boyes, Holgate, Burns, Camps, J.Morris, Coutts, Madden, Saunders.
Fleetwood bench: Cairns (GK), Trialist, Matete, Trialist, Hill, Trialist, Rydel, S.Morris, Johnston.
Darlington XI: Trialist (GK), Atkinson, Liddle, Hunt, Watson, Wheatley, Donowa, Hatfield, Maguire, Campbell, Rivers.
Darlington bench: Hedley, Reid, Holmes, Charman, Armstong, Trialist.