MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood Town 1 Wrexham 0

Michael Fowler celebrates his goal with Ryan Rydel. Photo credit: Stefan Willoughby.
Michael Fowler celebrates his goal with Ryan Rydel. Photo credit: Stefan Willoughby.

Michael Fowler's first senior goal for Fleetwood Town's first team helped Joey Barton's side start their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win over National League side Wrexham at Poolfoot Farm.

Fowler was released by Premier League side Burnley in March with ex-Claret Barton swooping to secure the then 17-year-old's signature.

And Fowler enhanced his case for a spot on the plane to Portugal for Fleetwood's pre-season trip to Portugal by netting the only goal of the game in the League One side's 1-0 win over Wrexham.

Fowler had only been on the pitch for 15 minutes when he tapped home fellow forward Dan Mooney's cross from the right in the 85th minute.

Folwer has now given Barton food for thought as the forward and fellow development squad stars winger Dan Mooney, left-back Eddie Clarke and midfielder Jay Matete impressed in the second half.

Barton started the clash against Wrexham with a side littered with first team personnel.

Number one Alex Cairns started in goal with versatile forward Wes Burns starting at right-back alongside skipper Craig Morgan, young Nathan Sheron and new left-back Danny Andrew.

Development squad midfielder Laurence Smith started in the centre of a midfield three with Kyle Dempsey ahead to his left and Harrison Biggins on the right.

New signing Josh Morris was deployed on the right of a front three with Ash Hunter on the left and Conor McAleny up top.

McAleny was the star of the show in the first half.

Back from his loan spell at Kilmarnock he certainly looked hungry to make his mark in a central striker role.

With Paddy Madden away on best man duty McAleny lead the line and he was instrumental in Town's first big chance.

The forward's intelligent play outside the box allowed Morris to dance towards goal but he was thwarted by the keeper.

Skipper Morgan, who ended the season injured, looked solid alongside Sheron as Town were barely tested by the National League side in the first 45.

Cairns was tested by a Hooper header but with ex-Blackpool man Matt Gilks on trial at Town he held comfortably.

Josh Morris is set to improve Town's set-piece play and he nearly saw a low, tame effort from the right poked home by McAleny.

The miss-hit set-piece nipped the toe of the Town striker but flew to safety.

Barton shifted formation towards the end of the half from 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2.

Sheron, Morgan and Andrew set up in a back three with Burns pushing up to right wing-back and Josh Morris dropping to left wing-back.

Dempsey switched to a right midfield role with Biggins moving to the left as youngster Smith continued to hold.

Ash Hunter moved to a role just off McAleny but it was to be Wrexham who threatened.

Andrew lost the ball on the left flank with the loose ball flying to Summerfield.

But his strike flew harmlessly over Cairns' bar.

Burns was given more attacking freedom in the wing-back role and he set-up Dempsey for Town's best chance of the half.

Burns picked up the ball in the middle of the park and fed the midfielder.

Like McAleny, he is fighting for his spot in the first team having returned from a loan spell at Peterborough.

But he could only curl the ball wide of the right stick.

At the break Barton threw on a fresh XI with trialists Gilks and ex-Oldham man Peter Clarke making their Town debuts.

Like Cairns Gilks would keep a clean sheet but he was tested more than his predecessor.

Left-back Eddie Clarke impressed on the wing and was Town's main threat in the second 45.

He found fellow development squad player Dan Mooney in the box but the winger's first time effort was just stopped by the Wrexham keeper.

Again Clarke did the damage but his left-wing cross was put wide by ex-Darlington youngster Harvey Saunders.

Wrexham's Fondop tested Gilks and Town looked shaky at the back at the National League side asked questions.

But with Eastham and Clarke in front of Gilks they held firm.

Barton threw on Rydel and Fowler for Shayden Morris and Saunders to refresh Town.

That saw Fleetwood end the game with a front three of Rydel, Fowler and Mooney.

And it was Mooney and Fowler who would ensure Town's senior side kicked off pre-season with a victory.

Mooney picked up a loose clearance from Bobby Beaumont in the Wrexham box and unselfishly squared to Fowler who rifled the ball home from close range with five minutes to go.

The centre-half was unlucky not to make it two moments later but Beaumont made a strong block to thwart his bid for a brace.

Defender Macauley Southam-Hales limped off for Harrison Holgate at the death.

And after numerous impressive cameos from his youngsters Barton now faces a tough task to whittle down his squad for Sunday's trip to the Algarve.

Fleetwood first half: Cairns, Burns, Morgan, Sheron, Andrew, Biggins, L Smith, Dempsey, J J Morris, McAleny, Hunter.

Fleetwood second half: Gilks, P Clarke, Eastham, Saunders (Fowler, 70), Southam-Hales (Holgate, 90), Mooney, Sowerby, Matete, E Clarke, S Morris (Rydel, 70), Baggley.

Subs not used: Crellin, Hill.