Town outclassed by AZ in scorching heat

Fleetwood line-up against AZ Alkmaar
Fleetwood line-up against AZ Alkmaar
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Fleetwood continued their pre-season tour of Holland with a 5-0 defeat against Dutch top-flight side AZ Alkmaar.

The Europa League Eredivisie side are due to start their season in just a week and it showed with a superb 5-0 display.

For the Cod Army it was a huge learning curve with many of the players involved part of the club’s development squad.

Ahead of the game Pressley was boosted by the return of Jimmy Ryan after he shook off a foot knock that he picked up against Salford at the weekend to play in the middle of the park.

After being given 30 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Fortuna Sittard last night, Nathan Pond, Bobby Grant and David Ball were all named in the eleven.

Ash Eastham and Eggert Jonsson were in again in from the start.

Opponents AZ finished fourth in the Dutch top flight last season named a full strength side on a red hot afternoon.

Despite the heat Fleetwood started in typical fashion, pressing the AZ back four and it was from that which led to the game’s first effort on goal.

A back pass was chased down by Ball forcing the keeper to rush his clearance straight into the path of Ryan who lofted an effort just over from 25 yards.

After a bright start the home side began to grow into the game, using the ball well in the heat, and in the 12th minute they got themselves ahead.

A right-wing cross fizzed across the box only for Eggert Jonsson to turn the ball into his own net - in truth there was little he could do about it.

Alkmaar are planning for another season in the Europa League at the moment and their quality began to show as the half went on.

And it wasn’t long before they doubled their lead, when Markus Henriksen turned in the box and fired into the roof of the net.

On the stroke of half-time it was three, when Dos Santos brilliantly headed home a right-wing cross.

As planned ahead of the game, Town made two changes at the break, with Conor McLaughlin and Nick Haughton replacing Ash Eastham and Michael Duckworth. The changes also saw Fleetwood revert back to 4-4-2.

Straight from the kick-off you could see a more positive outlook from Town with Bobby Grant trying his luck straight from kick-off, sadly it drifted just off target.

With Town back to a more familiar formation they looked more comfortable, and as a result were much more competitive.

In the 70th minute Pressley made the last of his changes, with Devante Cole, Ashley Nadesen and Elliot Osborne replacing Grant, Ball and Jonsson.

But just moments later it was four, as full back Aron Johannsson finished superbly from just inside the area.

As the effects of a tough tour so far started to take its toll, Alkmaar made it five, this time Alireza Jahanbakhsh with the finish.

It’s another 90 minutes under the side’s belt ahead of the kick-off and it’s fair to say Town won’t face this sort of quality in League One next season.

TOWN: Cairns, Eastham (McLaughlin 45), Pond, Davis, Duckworth (Haughton 45), Sowerby, Ryan, Jonsson (Osborne, 70), T Grant, B Grant (Cole, 70), Ball (Nadesan, 70).

Subs not used: Neal.

AZ: Rochet; Johansson, Vlaar, Van Eijden, Haps; Van Overeem, Henriksen, Wuytens; Jahanbakhsh, Weghorst, Dos Santos.

Subs: Coutinho, Wijndal, Til, Druijf, Duin