Striking partners too hot to handle

Telford v Fleetwood 'By Derick Thomas'Jamie Vardy celebrates his first goal
Telford v Fleetwood 'By Derick Thomas'Jamie Vardy celebrates his first goal

Telford 1, Fleetwood Town 4. DEADLY duo Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy took their combined goal tally for the season to 50 with a brace apiece to stretch Town’s lead at the top of the Conference to six points.

Mangan scored twice in the first 15 minutes, while strike partner Vardy’s two in the last seven took his total to 30 as Town took full advantage of title rivals Wrexham’s free weekend.

Since losing twice on the road in August, Micky Mellon’s side have won 15 of their 17 away matches in the Blue Square Bet Premier, drawing the other two.

One of those draws was at Mansfield last Tuesday, and Mellon named the same starting XI that shared the spoils 1-1 at Field Mill. The only change was on the bench, where Magno Vieira replaced Danny Rose.

Telford boss Andy Sinton gave a debut to new signing Steve Kinniburgh, who was released by Oxford United in January, the only change to the side which beat Kidderminster in midweek.

Fleetwood, unbeaten in half a season in the league, went about extending that run in perfect style by taking the lead in only the third minute.

Lee Fowler played a high pass to Vardy on the right. He headed the ball down and cut into the penalty area, where he teed up Mangan to calmly slot past Ryan Young.

Town doubled their advantage 12 minutes later, after retaining possession in a patient build-up.

Brodie met a cross from the left with a header which came back off the crossbar and fell to Mangan, who tapped in his 20th of the season from close range.

Chris Blackburn should have done better from Jonathan Brown’s accurate free-kick from the left, but he headed one of Telford’s few clear-cut chances of the first half wide.

Vardy was looking typically dangerous roaming down the right. He won a free-kick which gave Mangan a hat-trick opportunity but he crashed his effort against the wall.

Town went closer to a third on 31 minutes, when poor clearance deflected off a defender into the path of Vardy, whose low strike rattled the far post.

Telford had a goal disallowed eight minutes before the interval, when Marlon Jackson’s close-range shot ruled out for offside. The home contingent in a crowd of 2,313 grew restless with some of referee Peter Bankes’ decisions.

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Their frustration grew as Fleetwood maintained their dominance into the second half.

Phil Trainer fired high and wide for the hosts, while Daniel Preston’s header across goal was not capitalised on.

Both goalkeepers made some impressive stops. Young denied Town’s Peter Till, moments after he had replaced Brodie, with a fantastic double save, showing sharp reflexes to push the substitute’s follow-up shot over the bar.

Four minutes later, Town’s Scott Davies sprang into action to keep out Kinniburgh’s free-kick.

Town skipper Steve McNulty almost gave Chris Sharp the chance to pull a goal back by chesting the ball straight to the United striker, but again Davies was on alert to make an important catch.

After that escape, McNulty did play a part in the Telford goal, felling Brooke on the edge of the area after 72 minutes.

The referee initially awarded a penalty, but changed his mind after consulting his assistant.

Nevertheless, Brown curled the free-kick into the gap between Davies and his near post to give his side a lifeline.

Till and Jamie McGuire then got in each other’s way as both attempted to bundle the ball home after a well-worked Fleetwood attack.

Town continued to press for a third and Nathan Pond, who was solid at the back, found himself in the opposite penalty area to control Till’s cross and turn well to shoot on target after 78 minutes, but Young was equal to the task.

Town were not to be dnied, however, and Vardy prevented any late anxieties.

His first came after 83 minutes, the striker advancing into the area to latch on to a high pass from McGuire and unleash a powerful strike past young.

His second in stoppage time was a typical Vardy strike, shooting under the keeper from Till’s through ball.

The pressure is back on Wrexham to halve the deficit in the first of their two games in hand at relegation-threatened Darlington tomorrow.

Town return to action on Saturday in a Highbury rematch with Mansfield.


Telford: Young, Salmon, Kinniburgh (Killock 90), Preston, Blackburn, Trainer, Davies (Cain 8), Perry (Brooke 62), Jackson, Brown, Sharp; not used: Robinson, Smith.

Fleetwood: Davie, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Goodall, Cavanagh, McGuire, Fowler, Brodie (Till 64), Mangan, Vardy; not used: Stephenson, Charnock, Vieira, Seddon

Ref: P Bankes; Att: 2,313 .