AFC Fylde 1, Fleetwood Town 2
SUBSTITUTE Richard Brodie’s first goals for Fleetwood Town sealed victory in this derby friendly at Kellamergh Park.
It was hard luck on the hosts, who competed well, led at half-time and conceded the winner in stoppage time.
It was Town’s first pre-season win following their draw with Partick Thistle and 4-0 defeat to Preston North End, while Fylde had begun their build-up to the new season with a 3-2 win at West Lancashire League Longridge.
Saturday’s game looked destined to end all square until Brodie buried a late free-kick into the bottom corner of new Fylde keeper Richard Whiteside’s goal.
The Evo-Stik First Division North Club had matched their visitors from three levels up the non-league pyramid for much of the game and had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time from a Joe Booth penalty.
Fylde’s Michael Barnes, a Town target last season, posed plenty of problems with his runs down the right and teasing crosses which just eluded his attackers.
Striker Andy Mangan looked lively for Town, firing across goal after Gareth Seddon’s effort was deflected, but a shot by George Donnelly was all that troubled Whiteside in the first half.
Town’s Scott Davies was the busier keeper before the break, making low saves from Barnes and former Lancaster striker Dave Swarbrick.
The breakthrough came when former AFC Blackpool frontman Ben Waddington was sandwiched between visiting centre-halves Steve McNulty, making his first pre-season appearance after a shin injury, and Rob Atkinson.
Booth won the argument over who would take the spot-kick and slotted the ball low into the right corner.
Town introduced fresh legs in the second half, but the Coasters proved difficult to break down and had further chances through Waddington and new strike partner Swarbrick before substitute Brodie equalised on 65 minutes.
From a low ball into the box by Shaun Beeley, Brodie’s initial shot was saved by Whitehead but the former York striker poked home the rebound from close range.
As fellow subs Magno Vieira and Peter Till also enlivened the visitors’ attack, Fylde’s heads refused to drop and Danny Penswick had a rocket shot saved by Davies before another fine build-up ended with Swarbrick shooting over.
Fleetwood’s fitness began to tell and they dominated the latter stages, resulting inBrodie’s late, late winner.
The striker won the decisive free-kick himself, though Fylde felt it should have been awarded the other way.
However, impressive displays by Fylde’s new signings, regulars and young propects suggest they may well be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Fylde manager Kelham O’Hanlon certainly took great encouragement from the display. He said : “I was very pleased with our overall performance. It’s all about getting players fit and we kept virtually the same side over the 90 minutes.”
Town boss Micky Mellon agreed, saying: “These games are all about fitness and giving players match-time.”
But he was full of praise from match-winner Brodie, adding: “He is a forward who will always want to put his name on the scoresheet, if it’s a pre-season game or not. He was buzzing with the two he scored and he was after a hat-trick – not bad after only 20 minutes of match time.”
Town welcome a Manchester United XI to Highbury on Wednesday, while Conference rivals Southport visit Fylde tomorrow.
Fylde: Whiteside, McNiven, Hills, Doughty (Betts), Steel, Kay, Booth, Penswick (Ainsworth), Swarbrick (Kusaloka), Waddington, Barnes (Edigi).
Fleetwood: Davies (St Louis-Hamilton), Beeley (Camozzi), McNulty (Hughes), trialist, Atkinson (Linwood), trialist (Clancy), trialist (Wynn), Cavanagh (Rowe), Mangan (Vieira), Seddon (Brodie), Donnelly (Till)