Skip to main content

Two first-half goals were the difference between the sides, as Waterford FC ramped up their pre-season preparations with a friendly against sister-club Fleetwood Town on Tuesday evening.

After a tough 110-minutes against Douglas Hall AFC in the Munster Senior Cup 3rd round on Friday evening, the Blues flew out to Manchester early Sunday for a week-long training camp in Fleetwood Town, with Keith Long getting the chance to get valuable minutes into the legs of his players with a friendly against a Fleetwood Town FC XI in Highbury Stadium.

Five of Keith Long’s winter signings were named in the starting line-up for our second-ever meeting with the Cod Army – as Joseph Forde, Kacper Radkowski & Darragh Leahy started in defence with Ben McCormack and Gbemi Arubi giving the Blues options further up the field.

The opening minutes of the game saw both sides share possession without creating any clear-cut opportunities – with the strong wind and heavy rain not helping the flow of the game in the early passages.

The first chance of the game fell to former Blue Ronan Coughlan, who fired a free-kick narrowly wide of Sam Sargeant’s near post after 10 minutes.

Just three minutes later, and it was the Fleetwood number 33 who opened the scoring, finishing low beyond Sargeant to net his first goal for his new club.

With 17 minutes on the clokck, it was two for Fleetwood and two for Coughlan, as he steered his header at the back post beyond a host of bodies to give the Cod Army a two-goal lead inside the opening quarter of the game.

Kabongo Tshimanga came close to extending the home-side’s lead, only to see his curling effort fly inches over Sargeant’s crossbar after cutting in from the left-wing.

Christie Pattisson & Connor Parsons looked lively on the wings, with Pattisson causing havoc inside the Fleetwood box on numerous occasions in the first-half with his dangerous deliveries from the right.

Pharrell Brown fired an effort wide of the Blues goal in the final minutes of the half, as the hosts went into the interval leading by two-goals-to-nil.

The second-half was much more of an even affair, with Keith Long getting the opportunity to give important game-time to players. Eight substitutes came on throughout the second-half, with only Niall O’Keeffe, Gbemi Arubi & Romeo Akachukwu surviving the full ninety-minutes.

Gbemi Arubi almost got on the end of an inch-perfect through-ball from Ryan Burke ten minutes into the half, before Sargeant was called into action at the other end – producing an excellent low-save to deny Coughlan from close-range.

Burke kept McMullan on his toes in the Fleetwood goal, as his crosses from the left looked dangerous on every occasion, before he was given his rest after 75 minutes in place of new-signing Robbie McCourt, who made his first appearance back for the Blues since re-signing for the club in December.

Fellow substitute Matt Connor made an excellent save of his own with ten minutes remaining from the ever-threatening Tshimanga, before Dean McMenamy had the best chance of the game for the Blues just moments later.

Arubi’s first-time cross found the on-coming McMenamy, who’s smart back-heel was well saved by McMullan in the Fleetwood net.

A good work-out for the Blues against strong opposition, as the Blues continue their pre-season work in Fleetwood at the state-of-the-art training facilities in Poolfoot Farm for the remainder of the week.

Waterford FC: Sargeant (GK) (63′ Connor); Forde (75′ Power), Radkowski (63′ Larkin), Leahy (63′ Queally), Burke (75′ McCourt); O’Keeffe (C), Akachukwu, Pattisson (46′ Cresswell), McCormack (46’McMenamy), Parsons (63′ Trialist 1); Arubi.

Fleetwood Town FC XI: McMullan (GK), Johnston (46′ Wright-Ocana), Pond, Tshimanga, Baggley, Holgate (65′ Cirino), White, Macadam (65′ Glenfield), Coughlan (65′ Lane), Brown (46′ Wilson), Johnson (C).

Leave a Reply