Cod Army in peaceful invasion
'If we score we're on the pitch!'
That was the rally cry the 70-plus travelling Cod Army issued to Joe Maguire as he stepped up to take a last-gasp free-kick with the score locked at 1-1 against Czech First League side FK Jablonec.
Maguire coolly delivered his part of the bargain, curling the ball home to spark mass celebrations and a pitch invasion from the Cods as they stayed true to their word at FC Kossen.
After the game, an ecstatic Uwe Rosler joked it was something Kossen had not seen before as the jubilant fans enjoyed yet another late show by Rosler’s men – only this time in a picture postcard alpine setting in Austria as Town’s pre-season tour ended in dramatic fashion.
Rosler said: “I think it is unusual in Kossen that you have a pitch invasion!
“I think how everything went is brilliant – getting the equaliser quite late and then the winner with the last kick of the game with a great free- kick from Joe.”
The Cod Army had witnessed Town go behind in the 68th minute as Matej Hanousek’s 25-yard strike flew past Chris Neal before Ash Hunter’s 88th-minute leveller was followed by Maguire’s set-piece.
And Rosler thanked chairman Andy Pilley for ensuring the fans got to witness the scenes by subsidising a deal to help the Cods join the tour.
He added: “I just want to say thank you to Andy for giving our fans the opportunity (to come) by subsidising them to come over here.
“We met them today at the hotel and I think everyone who travelled from Fleetwood appreciated Andy’s effort.”
Rosler had made six changes from the narrow 2-1 defeat to German 3 Liga outfit Karlsruher in midweek.
New loan star Jordy Hiwula from Huddersfield was handed his debut up front, with shot-stopper Alex Cairns, skipper Nathan Pond, right wing-back Victor Nirennold, left wing-back Amari’i Bell and central midfielder Markus Schwabl also given the nod.
It was all Town in the first half ,with Cairns untested by the Czechs.
George Glendon caused problems with his set-piece delivery, while Hiwula and Conor McAleny looked lively in attack.
Hiwula showed the travelling Cod Army a taste of what he can do and managed to get the ball in the net nine minutes before the break. However, it was ruled out for offside after Vlastimil Hruby kept out McAleny’s initial effort.
It was goalless at the break and a flurry of changes followed.
But Town were undone against the run of play just after the hour mark as Hanousek burst forward from left back and curled a 25-yard effort past sub goalkeeper Chris Neal.
The Cod Army were not giving up without a fight and continued to look dangerous in attack. Wes Burns went close five minutes from time but Hruby denied him with a strong hand at his near post.
But the Czechs had not heeded their warnings and Town finally got their reward in the 88th minute.
Harvey Rodgers’ long ball was just kept in play by Lewie Coyle, who whipped the ball into the mix for Hunter to pounce from close range.
Maguire was then fouled right on the edge of the area with the full-time whistle looming and he dusted himself down to fire home.
It was a result that pleased Rosler, who said it was an improvement on Town’s display last Tuesday.
The head coach said: “Overall I think it was a very strong performance against a Czech First League team.
“It would have been criminal if we had not got anything out of the game.
“That we won it in the end speaks volumes for our character and mentality.
“I think we played really well against a top side, with the way we pressed and the way we attacked them. The only thing missing was more goals.
“We had so many good counter-attacking opportunities, when the final ball was timed wrong or we were offside or we missed an opportunity.
“Overall a lot of positives. There was a clear improvement from the Karlsruher game against a very good side.
“I think they had one chance and their goal. I don’t even think it was a chance – it was a shot from 25-yards.
“I think they had on chance from a cross where our keeper Nealo made a good save.
“Apart from that we were on top. We didn’t give them any time. We pressed them really impressively.
“The fitness is coming on and the players are looking in really good shape.
“We have finished off a very good week with a very strong performance.”
Fleetwood: Cairns (Neal 60), Bolger, Pond (Rodgers 60), Eastham, Nirennold (Coyle 60), Bell (Maguire 85), Glendon (Dempsey 45), Schwabl (Sowerby 60), McAleny (Burns 57), Grant (Hunter 60), Hiwula (Cole 45).