Carlisle United 1 Fleetwood Town 3: Rosie Swarbrick’s match verdict

Fleetwood Town were victorious at Carlisle United       Picture: Fleetwood Town FC
Fleetwood Town were victorious at Carlisle United Picture: Fleetwood Town FC

Three years ago Steven Pressley left Fleetwood Town on the eve of the season but it was a much-changed Town that beat his Carlisle United side 3-1 on Saturday.

The team that Pressley left is a world away from this current line-up, and on Saturday, we saw glimpses of what could be their most successful team yet.

What we did see was a side that could dominate possession, score goals and pose an increased threat on set-pieces, even if the goal they conceded was avoidable.

Defensively, that goal did not look good and the injury list highlights a lack of strength in depth.

Danny Andrew and Eddie Clarke joined Ash Hunter, Jack Sowerby, Kyle Dempsey and Craig Morgan in the treatment room but those injuries give chances to the club’s younger players.

The return of loanee Harry Souttar and Ash Eastham to the starting line-up gave hope it would be a more solid defensive showing.

However, with Lewie Coyle joining them in a back three and with Wes Burns and Ryan Rydel as wing-backs, it was to be a shaky start.

They were cut open when Souttar’s misplaced pass went straight to a blue shirt and Town were caught.

Jack Bridge slid in Christie Elliott on the right and carried on his run before ghosting into the gap between Coyle and Eastham and nodding home in the ninth minute.

However, Rydel and Harrison Biggins did their causes no harm at all with their performances.

Rydel took advantage of the absences of Andrew and Clarke to give Joey Barton food for thought, while Biggins has gone toe to toe in pre-season with Paul Coutts, Jordan Rossiter and Josh Morris and stood out.

Another boost came with Paddy Madden scoring twice, providing the end product to his developing partnership with Conor McAleny.

McAleny won the penalty from which Madden broke his pre-season duck in the 40th minute, before the latter wrapped up victory when pouncing on a rebound from Morris’ set piece.

Inbetween those goals, Biggins proved that he has goals in him by scoring Town’s second, taking a gamble and racing into the box to latch onto Coyle’s centre.

Defensively Town looked more comfortable with Eastham and Souttar in a back two but they were still asked questions; something that will settle down as the returning Souttar gets more football under his belt.

For Madden, now the goals are flowing, there will be no stopping him but still there needs to be more attacking competition for the duo.

More positives but more shopping to be done.