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MATCH REPORT: Salford City 0 Fleetwood Town 4

Jason Holt in action for Fleetwood Town at Salford City
Jason Holt in action for Fleetwood Town at Salford City

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton showed no mercy as his new side put former Town heroes Graham Alexander and Nathan Pond’s Salford City to the sword.

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton showed no mercy as his new side put former Town heroes Graham Alexander and Nathan Pond’s Salford City to the sword.
Barton once again put his 4-3-3 stamp on Town, with Paddy Madden, Conor McAleny, Ashley Nadesan and Harrison Biggins sealing a 4-0 win.
Salford put up a fight in the first half, with ex-Town skipper Pond and company handling the visitors’ front three.
It was not just a new boss and formation but a new-look Fleetwood style, with crisp passing and ingenuity from the midfield top of the agenda.
The defensive shackles were thrown off by John Sheridan when he took over last February and that is something Barton has also embraced.
Bar a brief stint on loan at Grimbsy, Pond had been a permanent fixture at Highbury since 2003.
He rose with Town from the North West Counties to League One but his new chapter at Moor Lane under the manager who guided Town to League One did not start with a clean sheet.
However, it took Town 36 minutes to break down Pond and company.
Dempsey was one who benefited from the licence to thrill under Sheridan and was it was after the 22-year-old’s fierce effort was tipped around the post that Town smelt blood.
The resulting corner was whipped in from the left by loanee Jason Holt and wrong-footed Pond, allowing the now shaven-headed Paddy Madden to nod home unmarked.
Town made five changes at the break as the whole back four of Eddie Clarke, Craig Morgan, Cian Bolger and returning loanee Lewie Coyle made way.
Lewis Baines celebrated signing a fresh two-year deal by replacing Clarke at full-back, while Gethin Jones, Ash Eastham (who took the captain’s armband from Morgan ) and new loanee Tommy Spurr slotted in.
Harrison Biggins came on for Jack Sowerby and the attacking ethos of the midfield continued.
Bobby Grant got his first minutes in the right of the front three and he sent McAleny through just minutes into the second half to calmly slide the ball past a diving Chris Neal.
McAleny and Grant made way minutes later, and so did Madden, Dempsey and Holt as Ashley Nadesan, Wes Burns, Ash Hunter, Ged Garner and Nathan Sheron all entered the fray.
Nadesan was sent through by a sublime Hunter pass, netting with ease just like he did on loan at Carlisle last term.
Nadesan is one of many development squad players to be given a chance by Barton and he certainly grabbed this opportunity in front of the TV cameras.
This time last year Biggins was embarking on pre-season with the development squad, but he truly announced his intentions of forcing his way into this first-team squad on a regular basis as he crowned the win by blasting in his first Town goal.
Biggins forced his way into the first team at the end of last term.
And now he and his fellow young guns look set to shine brighter in this new Barton era.

Fleetwood; Cairns (Crellin, 65) Coyle (Jones, 45), Morgan (Eastham, 45), Bolger (Spurr, 45), Clarke (Baines, 45), Holt (Sheron, 60), Sowerby (Biggins, 45), Dempsey (Garner, 60), Grant (Burns, 60), Madden (Nadesan, 60), McAleny (Hunter, 60)