Town’s wait for a goal goes on

ANXIOUS MOMENT: Action in the Fleetwood goalmouth last night. Picture by Derick Thomas
ANXIOUS MOMENT: Action in the Fleetwood goalmouth last night. Picture by Derick Thomas
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Fleetwood Town 0 FK Jelgava 0 - Latvian chants cut through the Highbury air but couldn’t inspire a goal despite many chances – mostly created by Town.

Town are yet to score at home after four friendlies and lost right-back Shaun Beeley with a worrying ankle injury after only three minutes.

The hosts made four changes from the team beaten by Huddersfield Town last Friday, with strikers Richard Brodie and Andy Mangan both playing wide, and were soon forced into a further switch, when Beeley was carried off with ankle damage after falling awkwardly making a clearance. Antony Barry replaced him.

The Latvian Cup holders took to the field in kit resembling Barcelona’s and some of their early play was reminiscent of the European champions. Gareth Seddon was Town’s outstanding player of the first half, shooting wide on seven minutes before setting up Jamie McGuire soon afterwards.

FK Jelgava suffered their own injury problem after 20 minutes, when skipper Jurijs Ksenzovs was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg after a prolonged break in play. Town were controlling the game at this point, with latest signing Alan Goodall a reassuring influence at left back before making way for Sean Clancy after half-time.

FK showed more intent just before the half-hour, when Igors Lapkovskis had a shot blocked by skipper Steve McNulty.

Seddon tested keeper Mark Bogdanovs with a shot before the Latvian top-flight side put Town’s defence under pressure.

They came close twice as Olegs Malasenoks shot narrowly wide and then Vladislavs Kozlovs glanced a header wide from a corner.

Gints Freimanis had the ball in the Town net two minutes into the second half only to be ruled offside, with keeper Davies twice needing to be alert soon afterwards. Trouble flared as Freimanis and McGuire squared up, and Town boss Micky Mellon withdrew his combative midfielder.

Freimanis stayed on and got involved in another tussle, this time with Barry, prompting the referee to have words with coach Dainis Kazakevics

Town had claims for a penalty turned down when Brodie went to ground after 51 minutes, then seven minutes later the same player cut in from the right for a curling left-foot shot which Bogdanovs acrobatically turned round a post.

Seddon and Aleksandrs Gubins were the next to confront each other in what was becoming a more feisty half than the first, though the only player to be shown a yellow card was Kozlovs for complaining about a tackle on Freimanis.

Apart from some vociferous Jelgava support, the atmosphere was largely muted. However, the Fleetwood fans in the crowd of 521 came alive again in the 66th minute when Rob Atkinson went close with a header, then Brodie turned in a tight situation only to fire straight at the keeper.

Seddon looked determined to impress, with so much competition in the Town attack, whipping a cross across the face of goal and then hooking narrowly wide.

Entering the final ten minutes, Brodie drove another shot just wide and Kozlovs blasted off-target when he should have done better, lying prone for what seemed an age to register his disappointment.

Tomorrow Jelgav face Blackpool, whose weekend conquerors Oldham visit Highbury on Saturday.

DAVID MITCHELL

Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, Goodall, McNulty (c), Atkinson, Briggs, McGuire, Seddon, Brodie, Vieira, Mangan; subs: Barry, Clancy, triallist; not used: Hughes, Wheeler.

- Town are offering free season tickets for under-12s in the Memorial Stand. For details of this and other ticket offers visit www.fleetwoodtownfc.com

- Fleetwood Reserves lost 3-0 at Northwich Victoria last night.