MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 1 Karlsruher SC 2
Devante Cole's poachers finish could not stop Fleetwood Town losing the opening game of their Austrian tour 2-1 to Karlsruher SC at SV Kopfgartenon.
Town racked up 20 clean sheets in League One last term but another blank blueprint was not to be on the continent as their opponents were lethal in the opening stages.
It took the Germans just three minutes to beat Town shot-stopper Chris Neal.
The experienced keeper was back between the sticks after recovering from the niggle that kept him sidelined from the first friendly of the summer as Fleetwood beat Queen of the South 1-0 on Friday at Poolfoot Farm.
But he was to be beaten twice in quick succession as Karlsruher’s Alexander Hoffman pounced on a loose ball and rifled the ball into the bottom right corner and they doubled their lead just six minutes later as captain Kai Bulow’s set-piece from the left out-foxed everyone before flying into left corner.
That should have put Town on the back foot but it did not dent their confidence as they swiftly bounced back with attackers Conor McAleny and Bobby Grant both creating chances before Cole pounced in the 19th minute.
Town had been working on their set-pieces before the game and it was a smooth corner routine that did that damage.
George Glendon whipped a corner from the left into the path of Cian Bolger, the towering centre-half powered the ball towards the keeper and with Cole hovering in the mix but remaining in an onside position he was able to flick the ball over the shot-stopper and halve the deficit.
But despite dominating the rest of the half Town could not find a leveller.
Friday’s Queen of the South slayers Joe Maguire and Lewie Coyle linked-up on the wings once again but this time Coyle’s first time effort from Maguire’s left-wing centre flew to safety.
Ash Hunter and Wes Burns entered the fray in place of McAleny and Grant in the second half but even after the introduction of the two pacemen there was no lightning quick start for either side with minimal chances in the second half.
Rosler shook things up in the 62nd minute throwing on keeper Alex Cairns, Amari’i Bell, Jack Sowerby, skipper Nathan Pond, German Markus Schwabl and Godswill Ekpolo for Neal, Maguire, Bolger, Kyle Dempsey, Coyle and Cole.
With a further changes as the half progressed as development squad forwards Michael Donohue and Ashley Nadesan were given a chance to shine.
And one of those young strikers Nadesan nearly grabbed a late equaliser as he rounded the keeper but his effort was cleared off the line in the 80th minute as Town slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
New signing Jordy Hiwula has travelled on the Austrian tour but did not feature as he continues his injury prevention training.
But he could figure on Saturday when Town face tough opposition as they face Czech top division side FK Jablonec at FC Kossen before flying back to the Fylde Coast on Sunday.
Fleetwood: Neal (Cairns, 62), Rodgers, Bolger (Pond, 62), Eastham, Coyle (Nirennold, 62) Dempsey (Schwabl, 62), Glendon (Donohue, 75) Maguire (Bell, 62), Grant (Burns, 46), Cole (Sowerby, 62), McAleny (Hunter, 46 (Nadesan).