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Match Reports

Report: Town lose out to promotion-chasing Derby County

6 January 2024

Match Reports

Report: Town lose out to promotion-chasing Derby County

6 January 2024

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Fleetwood Town suffered a 3-1 defeat to Derby County in new manager Charlie Adam’s first home game in charge of the club.

It was a display of character and determination from Adam’s men, but goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, James Collins, and Conor Hourihane were enough to earn Derby all three points, despite Jayden Stockley netting his second in four games.

The start of the fixture was met with a minute’s silence to remember those we sadly lost in 2023 to mark the Cod Army’s memorial fixture.

It was a lively start at Highbury in front of the Sky Sports cameras, as Stockley nearly gave Town an early lead when he fired inches wide of the post, after an excellent run out wide from Shaun Rooney.

Moments later, Mendez-Laing flicked a travelling ball towards goal that could’ve had the away side in the lead, but the Cod Army had their tails up at the other end as Josh Earl was next to come close when he headed a corner narrowly over.

New Fleetwood Town boss Charlie Adam will have been encouraged by his side’s early signs of attacking intent, but they were made to pay when Mendez-Laing raced away towards goal after picking up a loose ball before coolly slotting into the bottom corner just before the half-hour mark.

Derby’s goal had somewhat taken the wind out of Fleetwood’s sails, but Town would come close again when Josh Vela’s sweeping cross just needed someone to apply the finishing touch. 

But just as half-time beckoned, the away side doubled their lead when Collins headed in Conor Hourihane’s corner from close range to give Paul Warne’s men breathing space heading into the break.

Picking up from where they left off, the Rams began the second half on the front foot, with Phoenix Patterson’s free-kick forcing Josh Vickers into action at the other end.

Adam’s men continued to search for a route back into a game that was enduring a much quieter second period than its first, as chances remained at a premium until Callum Dolan’s powerful deflected effort just after the hour mark.

Fleetwood was beginning to find another spell of pressure, but with time running out a goal needed to arrive soon. It soon came when Stockley guided Rooney’s cross into the top corner with a brilliant glancing header.

It was game on at Highbury with 15 minutes to go, with new signing Ronan Coughlan introduced shortly after to make his Cod Army debut. Fleetwood pushed, but as a result, were left exposed when Tom Barkhuizen arrived to tap in Derby’s third late on and seal the victory for the visitors.

Town XI: Lynch (GK), Wiredu, Lawal, Vela (C) (Coughlan 86’), Stockley, Marriott (Quitirna 61’), Heneghan, Dolan, Rooney, Earl, Patterson (Omochere 70’).

Subs not used: McMullan (GK), Holgate, Macadam, Asamoah.

Derby XI: Vickers (GK), Wilson, Forsyth (Elder 46’), Hourihane (C) (Forna 90’), Bradley, Cashin, Bird, Collins (Thompson 80’) Mendez-Laing, John-Jules (Barkhuizen 62’), Nelson.

Subs not used: Wildsmith (GK), Sibley, Ward.

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