MATCH REPORT: Carlisle 1 Fleetwood Town 3

Paddy Madden
Paddy Madden
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Steven Pressley had an unhappy reunion with Fleetwood Town as Joey Barton's men left Cumbria with a 3-1 victory.

It is almost three years to the day since Pressley quit his role as head coach at Highbury.

The Scot resigned when Town returned from a pre-season tour in Holland with Uwe Rosler taking over the reins on the eve of the 2016-17 League One season.

Three years on and Barton has succeeded Rosler and John Sheridan to the Town hot-seat.

Pressley now in his seventh month as Carlisle boss having took over from Sheridan in January.

This is his first UK management role since he left Town in July 2016 and the Scot's League Two side certainly gave Fleetwood a test.

Pressley's side took the lead but Paddy Madden scored either side of a Harrison Biggins header to ensure Town bounced back from back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Championship side Millwall and League Two side Port Vale and returned to winning ways.

The sight of Madden back in the goals the highlight of this victory.

The Irishman netted 19 times last season but broke his pre-season duck to steer Town to victory.

Head coach Joey Barton opted to start with a 3-5-2 formation at Carlisle.

Ash Eastham took the central role of a back three with Lewie Coyle on the right and Stoke City loanee Harry Souttar making his second Town bow on the left.

Youngster Ryan Rydel started at left wing-back with Wes Burns returning to the right flank and taking the wing-back slot.

Josh Morris and Harrison Biggins were deployed on the right and left just ahead of Paul Coutts in the holding midfield role.

Conor McAleny was utilised in the number 10 role again just behind Paddy Madden.

Town's bench, like for the 1-0 defeat at Port Vale, was once again filled with youngsters.

Rangers loanee Jordan Rossiter, Nathan Sheron and experienced 37-year-old former Oldham man trialist Peter Clarke the only players with more than five Football League appearances to their names on that youthful bench.

Town's injury list extended as Danny Andrew and Eddie Clarke joined Ash Hunter, Jack Sowerby, Kyle Dempsey and skipper Craig Morgan in the treatment room.

Madden was given the captaincy for the game but from the off you could hear the shouts across the pitch as Cairns and Eastham barked orders to those in front.

As Fleetwood focused on shape, fitness and minutes as Barton bids to build a team capable of beating Peterborough on the opening day of the season the hosts went for the jugular early doors.

And Fleetwood were cut open like a hot knife through butter.

Souttar's miss-placed pass out from the back went straight to a blue shirt and Town were to be caught off-guard.

Jack Bridge slid in Christie Elliott on the right, youngster Rydel could not stop the cross and Bridge carried on his run to ghosted in unmarked into the gap between Coyle and Eastham and nod home in the ninth minute.

It was hoped that Souttar's arrival and Eastham selected to start would improve Town's defence but there are still simple footballing principles like losing possession, stopping a cross and marking that need to be ironed out by August.

It seemed the game was following the pattern of Town's previous friendlies.

Lots of possession but tame in both boxes.

An intricate training ground set-piece routine was the only spark of interest in the final third in the opening exchanges.

Morris slid a corner to McAleny on the edge of the box, he fired it straight back to the winger with Lewie Coyle then nipping in to gallop on on the overlap.

He appeared to be impeded by a blue shirt but stayed on his feet to pull the ball back towards the penalty spot.

But the hosts cleared the cross with McAleny flicking on another corner at the near post but the only yellow shirt to pounce was Burns at the far post, though the chance was gone.

Town did look a threat from corners.

Another training ground routine saw a Coutts left centre to McAleny just pinched off the forward's toe at the near

But it was Carlisle who threatened again as Elliot exploited the gaps between Morris, Burns and Coyle to feed Harry McKirdy.

The Carlisle found himself in acres of space on the left and with Coyle back peddaling towards goal he tested the palms of Cairns.

Though his strike was no match for Fleetwood's number one who easily batted the ball away.

Town wing-back Rydel enjoyed more joy on the flank as the half wore on.

He sprinted down the wing before whipping in an inch-perfect cross to the feet of Madden in the box.

It was a chance Madden would gobble up in the league but his radar has been off this pre-season and he blasted the ball wide.

But he would soon nab his first goal of pre-season moments later.

Town were awarded a penalty when McAleny was fouled by Byron Webster just inside the box.

It was debatable whether the foul had happened in or outside of the box but referee Anthony Backhouse made the call and Madden coolly stroked the ball home in the 40th minute to level the scores.

With his strike-partner breaking his duck McAleny looked soon to follow but his bid to score his first goal of pre-season was thwarted by Adam Collin.

The forward's initial strike fizzed straight back to him in the box and Collin had to be at his best to just stop McAleny's angled effort squeezing into the top corner.

Town switched formation to 4-3-3 in the second half.

Coyle. Eastham and Souttar moved over with Rydel joining a back four.

Burns pushed up into a front three to join Madden and McAleny.

Coutts and Morris played just ahead of Biggins in a midfield three as Barton altered shape.

Town again enjoyed large spells of possession but it was still Carlisle who asked the questions.

Lewie Coyle was forced to pull off a last ditch tackle to thwart substitute Aaron Hayden and Souttar nearly had the ball in his own net as Carlisle looked more likely to take the lead at the start of the second half.

Souttar just managed to recover and slip Hayden's strike to Eastham with the Town centre back whipping the ball to safety.

But as soon as Fleetwood settled into their new shape they managed to grab their second of the game.

Coyle and Rydel still maintained the width of the four and it was Coyle who did the damage on the right wing.

The Leeds United loanee sent the ball swirling into the mix, McAleny saw Biggins streaming in and distracted the defender with the midfielder's gamble paying off.

Biggins spotted the opportunity and his reward was to see the net bulge in the 57th minute.

Barton threw on three fresh legs in the 62nd minute with Barry Baggley replacing McAleny, Jordan Rossiter on for Coutts and trialist Clarke on for Eastham.

That move saw Josh Morris push up as Baggley and Rossiter joined Biggins in the middle.

Rossiter nearly broke the bar with a fierce strike from distance as he announced his arrival off the bench.

The substitutions saw Burns able to get on the ball more and it was his play that lead to Town's third goal.

Burns looked to have been impeded on the edge of the box but he rode the tackle to steam into the box.

As he was about to cut the ball back the referee stopped play to award a free-kick.

The home faithful felt Burns was at fault but it was Town who won the set-piece with Morris looming menicingly over the dead ball.

The winger is known for his set-piece prowess and he showed why in the 68th minute.

His curling effort from just outside the box was tipped away by Collin but he could only push the ball into the path of Madden and the Irishman does not miss those chances.

The Irishman had remained onside and rolled the ball home unmarked at the back stick.

Barton made more changes as the game wore on with young keeper Billy Crellin recovering from injury to replace Cairns, Dan Mooney replacing Burns in the front three, Macauely Southam-Hales on for Lewie Coyle and Nathan Sheron taking Souttar's spot in defence.

Youngsters James Hill, Jay Matete and Harvey Saunders replaced Madden, Rydel and Biggins for the final 15 minutes.

Hill featured in a new left-back position with Matete in the middle and Saunders taking the central striker role.

Fleetwood: Cairns (Crellin, 74) Burns (Mooney, 74), Coyle (Southam-Hales, 74), Eastham (P Clarke, 62) Souttar (Sheron, 74), Rydel (Hill, 76), Coutts (Rossiter, 62), Biggins (Matete, 76), J Morris, McAleny (Baggley, 62) Madden (Saunders, 76). Subs not used: Garner.