Mellon: Thistle do nicely for starters

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Partick Thistle 1, Fleetwood Town 1

TOWN completed a hard-working week in Scotland with a hard-earned draw against Scottish First Division Partick in the first of their pre-season friendlies.

All of manager Micky Mellon’s fit players got a run-out at Grangemouth, including six of Town’s eight new signings and two trialists.

It was one of those new boys who gave Town a sixth-minute lead, Andy Mangan converting an accurate cross from the left by Junior Brown.

Mangan had already got his sights in with two earlier efforts after pulling on a Fleetwood shirt for the first time.

Brown almost doubled the lead himself but his half-volley skimmed the crossbar.

Town held their lead until half-time but the Scottish side grew stronger and Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies ended the half with two fine, close-range saves.

Davies was replaced in goal by Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton for the second half and he soon found himself picking the ball out of ths net as Ian Flannagan capitalised on a defensive mix-up.

St Louis-Hamilton also pulled off a top stop, turning a shot against his left post, while Richard Brodie came closest to a winner for Town.

The former York and Crawley frontman was keen to emulate fellow striker Mangan with a goal first time out, and he went close with a firm header before curling a shot inches wide of the left post.

Manager Mellon said: “It was a decent competitive game of football at a level we needed.

“I’m delighted to have our first game under our belt. It’s been a tough, tough week for the players and this is probably a small step in our preparation for what should be a very exciting season.

“I’m delighted with the way the lads conducted themselves and pleased with the levels of fitness we are at right now. It’s definitely where I’d want to be.”

Of the new recruits, none was happier than goalscorer Mangan. He said: “I’m made up to have scored, though I should have done better with the first chance – it was a good ball in by Sedds (Gareth Seddon, who captained the side).

“But then I pinged a good ball out to Junior and gambled. I made a run into box, got a great ball in from Junior and it went in.

“It was a great team performance, though it’s all about fitness at his stage and I’m just pleased to get off the mark.”

Mellon was delighted by the scorer’s first 45 minutes. He said: “Andy looked very bright and they all did to be fair.

“ I used all the players I could during the match so we could top up their fitness without taking it too far.

“Some of the players needed a half game and some needed 60 minutes. It was a worthwhile exercise.”

Young pros Liam Wynn and Joe Camozzi were among those introduced among the wholesale changes in the second half and Mellon added: “We have some talented young players. It’s always important to keep them in mind when we have this sort of game.

“These games give them experience and we trust them on the pitch. They are getting closer and closer to the first-team plans. It’s very exciting for the football club.”

The only disappointment was that injury prevented Mellon fielding six top players: Magno Vieira (foot), Peter Till (hamstring), Steve McNulty (shin splints), Anthony Barry (groin), Nathan Pond (ankle) and Jamie Milligan (knee).

Town are now back on the Fylde coast to prepare for Wednesday’s first home friendly against Preston North End

Fleetwood: First half Davies, Beeley, Edwards, Linwood, Atkinson, McGuire, Brown, Seddon (c), Mangan, Donnelly; Second half St Louis Hamilton, Beeley, Edwards, Linwood. Hughes, Cavanagh, Clancy, trialist, Brodie, Seddon , trialist; subs (used): Rowe, Wynn, Camozzi