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Match Reports

Report: Development Squad beat Cardiff City in league opener at Highbury

15 August 2023

Match Reports

Report: Development Squad beat Cardiff City in league opener at Highbury

15 August 2023

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Fleetwood Town's Development Squad won their opening Professional Development League fixture 4-1 against Cardiff City at Highbury Stadium, with former Club captain Nathan Pond bagging in the first half.

Two early first half goals from Josh Edwards and Theo Williams and one from Club legend Pond gave Town a comfortable lead at the half-time interval. 

Cardiff pulled one back midway through the second half, but defender Tom Hoyle regained Town's three goal lead with a smart header from six yards out. Sam Glenfield picked up a red card after recieveing two yellow cards.

On home soil, it was a really bright start from the young Cods. With Glenfield playing in a midfield role alongside George Morrison and Pharrell Brown, the Northern Ireland youth international was pulling the strings and managed to pick out Williams - whose shot was blocked by the Cardiff defender.

Head coach Matt Lawlor opted to go for the same formation played by first team head coach Scott Brown, and with the full-back getting into high attacking positions, balls were whipped in for Fishburn and Williams - who were looking to cause troubles in the back line.

Town got the goal they deserved with ten minutes on the clock. Edwards picked up the ball on the left flank and came inside on his weaker right foot, but curled a beautiful effort around the defenders and past Dennis between the sticks.

The opening goal lifted the young Cods and this saw them start to dictate play. Williams bagged the second goal with a calm finish into the bottom corner after Billy Jones' knockdown from a long diagonal - there was huge confidence in the ranks.

Cardiff managed to get an opening 17 minutes into the game as a mistake in the middle of the park. Their striker Morgan Wigley only had Harrion Holgate to beat, but took his shot early, only to see his effort pulled wide of the far post.

The visitors looked to capitalise on any set-pieces that they got, and on a number of corners they looked threatening, but never took their chances when they arose. 

Town's leader and legend Pond bagged ten minutes before the interval after Sam Glenfield's looping cross from the right side. The centre-half towered above his defender and headed it into the back of the net to give the Cods a three goal lead at the break. 

Williams went close on two occasions early in the second half. His first was a low driven effort from 20 yards, with his second one where he could have slid in on Billy Jones' cross, but he failed to gamble to potentially grab his second of the match.

Cardiff came out the traps better of the two and managed to pull one back on the 64th minute. Cian Ashford delivered a dangerous ball into the box for it to bounce off a red shirt and beat Harrington between the sticks - who was off balance with the touch.

A number of changes were made by both camps, with Town freshening up the midfield and forward line, with Cardiff looking to pull another back by putting on another striker.

Hoyle netted Town's fourth on the Fylde Coast after Pond headed back across goal Harry Wilson's corner.

The referee blew for full-time to give the Cods all three points in their league opener in the new fixture programme.

Dev Squad XI: Harrington (GK), Jones, Edwards, Pond, Glenfield, Morrison (Wilson, 75), Fishburn (Lane, 75), Brown (Wright, 80'), Williams, Johnson (C), Holgate (Hoyle, 72').

Subs not used: Donaghy (GK).

Cardiff XI: Dennis (GK), Semeyo (Lawlor, 79'(, Beecher (Johnson, 79')), Kenniford (Twose, 83'), Benjamin (C), Giles, Hughes, Colwill, Wigley (Jefferies, 71'), Zimba, Ashford.

Subs not used: Thomas.

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