Fleetwood Town 2 – 2 Scunthorpe United

Fleetwood Town twice took the lead against Scunthorpe but were pegged back by Scunthorpe to earn a point each at Highbury Stadium.

Jamie Proctor opened the scoring inside three minutes heading home from Nick Haughton’s free kick and Josh Morris also scored a bending effort in the second half for the Cod Army.

Scunthorpe equalised twice though through a right-footed drive from Gary McSheffrey and a fizzing strike from George Evans moments after Fleetwood’s second goal.

The Cod Army started brightly with the attacking trio of Proctor, Haughton and David Ball working well for the team in red and white.

The trio linked up to create a superb chance for Gareth Evans, when Proctor laid the ball across to him inside the penalty area, but the Fleetwood number seven’s low shot across the goal was well parried by Luke Daniels.

Scunthorpe fought back into the game and on 15 minutes McSheffrey saw his left-footed strike from inside the area saved by the onrushing Craig Maxwell.

At the other end, another dangerous free kick from Haughton took a sizeable deflection but fell easily enough into the arms of Daniels.

The visitors ended the first half well with Tom Hopper and Conor Townsend’s menacing crosses cleared by Fleetwood’s captain, Mark Roberts.

Shortly after that George Evans whipped in a dangerous free kick which Scunthorpe’s central defender, Alex Davey headed harmlessly wide.

Then came the Scunthorpe equaliser. McSheffrey was fed the ball by Isaiah Osbourne and he unleashed a powerful strike that rippled into Maxwell’s net.

The home side started the second period well after conceding on 44 minutes and when Proctor stole possession in opposition territory his cross found Evans whose low drive was deflected for a corner.

Scunthorpe fought back though, like they did in the first half, and Paddy Madden showed his striking class as his half-volley from outside the box flew inches wide of the upright.

Graham Alexander rang the changes on 68 minutes and two minutes later his side had the lead again through a curling left-footed effort from Morris which found the top left corner.

Scunthorpe’s second equaliser was a case of ‘anything you can do I can do better’ from Evans whose thunderbolt from 25 yards arrowed into the bottom left corner in a flash and in the blink of an eye, these two teams were level again.

Second half substitute Liam McAlinden came closest after that when he toe-poked Conor McLaughlin’s cross-cum-shot straight into the willing arms of Daniels.

McSheffrey almost added his second as the clock struck 90 but he blazed his effort from the left of the penalty area over.

Four minutes of added time were played, but neither team could find the winning goal and the points were shared.


Fleetwood Town 1 – 0 Rochdale

Josh Morris’ third goal in as many games lifted Fleetwood Town to eighth in League One after their 1-0 win against Rochdale.

Morris picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed a rasping drive that arrowed into the bottom right corner, leaving Jamie Jones stranded in the Rochdale net.

Graham Alexander started the same 11 that earned a memorable three points against Sheffield United last Saturday, preferring to play Jamie Proctor as a lone striker rather than the 4-4-2 diamond formation he has previously favoured.

Victory over Keith Hill’s side means Fleetwood have done the double over their North-West rivals this season, following a 2-0 win at Spotland in December.

The Cod Army boss said: ““It was a great effort from the lads. It was vitally important that we followed up last week’s win with another positive today.

“That’s the first time since the start of the season that we’ve done that. Last week was brilliant but this is a bigger win for us.

“It shows the players are hungry and motivated to keep the ball rolling and the momentum.”

In what was a truly awful spectacle the old adage ‘a game of two halves’ was very evident.

The first half was dominated by Rochdale but Fleetwood turned the tables and had the better of the second period, mainly thanks to the change in formation at half time.

Alexander said: ““First half we didn’t hit the heights we should have, and maybe that was down to the formation and I take responsibility for that.

“We caused them a lot of trouble in the second half and it was a fantastic goal to win the game.”

The first 45 minutes was not the most inspiring for the Highbury faithful, with Jack O’Connell having to pop his dislocated finger back in being one of the highlights of the half.

Nick Haughton was left reeling after 12 minutes following a forceful challenge from Andy Cannon. The youngster continued on until half time when he was replaced by Liam McAlinden.

The best chance of the first half fell to Peter Vincenti after neat footwork in the box from Jamie Allen presented the former with an opportunity, only to have his shot blocked by the sprawling Mark Roberts.

The Cod Army came out after the interval invigorated and within 20 seconds Morris saw his left footed drive roll agonisingly wide.

Morris found his range on 58 minutes when he rippled the netting for his seventh goal of the season, making him Fleetwood’s top scorer.

Stewart Murdoch, enjoying a good run in the side, almost capped a perfect day for the Cod Army with a sublime chipped effort from 40 yards on the right flank – but he rattled the cross bar, not the net.

Successive wins for Alexander’s side means that Fleetwood sit only two points below sixth place and a possible promotion spot ahead of Tuesday’s home fixture with Coventry City.

Fleetwood Town 0 – 2 Coventry City

Dominic Samuel and a Frank Nouble last minute strike destroyed Fleetwood Town’s dreams of a third successive win and also dented their play-off hopes.

Samuel broke the deadlock with minutes to play when he was slipped in on the left flank and his shot crept under the diving Chris Maxwell and trickled into the net.

Coventry City made it 2-0 with the last kick of the game when Nouble charged down Maxwell’s clearance and after it rebounded off the post he was left with the simplest of finishes to secure all three points.

Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander said after the game: “I thought with 10 minutes to go that a point would have been a good point for us, and we should have got it so it’s really disappointing.

Alexander also expressed his dissatisfaction at conceding two late goal: “You get games like that but when you’ve got to make sure you see them through and take what you can get.

“To concede the first goal so late in the game when I didn’t think they’d hurt us really in terms of chances was disappointing.

The first half seemed to be a competition of ‘who can shoot from the furthest distance?’ Samuels for Coventry had numerous effort that blazed high and wide and crashed into The Memorial Stand.

At the other end, Morris was urged on by the willing Highbury faithful to shoot at every opportunity after his recent run of form. One of his efforts from 20 yards flew just over the bar and looked to have Lee Burge worried.

Jamie Proctor came closest in the first period when his flicked header from an in-swinging Josh Morris corner was cleared on the line by Chris Stokes.

Adam Chicksen’s left foot rivalled Morris’ in the first period and his delivery from the left flank was a real danger to the Coventry back four throughout the game, but nobody in red could get on the end of his crosses.

On the stroke of half time Liam McAlinden and Proctor linked up inside the box, but indecisive play from both of them spurned a great shooting opportunity.

The Cod Army started the second half well with Chicksen’s crossing again proving fruitful, this time a combination of McAlinden’s head and shoulder forcing an effort goalwards.

Frank Nouble then came into his own for Coventry City. He ran with pace, power and trickery also as his curling effort from the left of the box floated just wide of the far post.

At the other end, Gareth Evans thought he was in for a one-on-one with Burge but a poor touch from the midfielder derailed any hope of a meaningful attack.

Coventry enjoyed a five minute spell of all-out attack where Stokes twice went close. Firstly, his long range effort from the left looked to be arrowing into the netting but the diving Maxwell came to the rescue.

From the resulting corner Stokes again thought he had scored when his flicked header cannoned against the frame of the goal and back out.

Alexander brought on Ashley Hunter and Antoni Sarcevic in the Cod Army’s search for a goal and a third successive win, and when the ball fell to Hunter inside the penalty box in injury time his tame effort was stopped by Burge.

Aguero Hat-Trick Secures Three Vital Points

Sergio Aguero’s 90th minute winner sealed three points against the 10-men of Bayern Munich after Medhi Benatia was sent off after 21 minutes.

Aguero opened the scoring from the penalty spot then Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski took the lead for Bayern before Aguero struck two late goals past Manuel Neuer.

Manchester City started brightly in a frantic first 30 seconds that saw Samir Nasri cuts inside from the left after being played and his shot is blocked on the edge of the area.

Gael Clichy produced a bursting run forward from the left resulting in a cross towards Frank Lampard who headed over from 10 yards.

A vital save from a spread-eagled Joe Hart prevented Sebastian Rode from opening the scoring on 9 minutes after a delicately chipped through ball from Arjen Robben.

Shortly after, Robben fired powerfully, yet harmlessly, wide of Hart’s near post as he cut in from the right wing onto his favoured left foot.

Robben’s pace saw him reach the byline on the left and his pull back found Rafinha whose thunderous shot was blocked by Clichy.

Aguero found himself through on goal after a Frank Lampard through ball and when Benatia fouled him inside the penalty box, Czech referee Pavel Kralovec pointed to the spot and sent off the defender.

Aguero stepped up to the penalty and side footed the ball past the enourmous frame of Neuer and into the right hand side of the goal.

Sebastien Rode’s full Champions League debut came to an end 24 minutes in as Pep Guardiola sacrificed him for another defender, Dante.

Lewandowski’s side step past Elaquim Mangala brought about a free kick on the edge of Manchester City’s penalty area and Alonso took up and struck past a motionless Hart into the bottom right corner.

Bayern took the lead just before half time when Rafinha’s cross reached Lewandowski and his combination of head and shoulder looped the ball over Hart and into the back of the net.

The second period started with Alonso wasting a glorious chance during a heavily numbered Bayern counter-attack which saw his left footed shot fly over the bar.

Lampard played Jesus Navas into some space down the right side and his low, powerful shot from a tight angle was comfortably saved by Neuer, then James Milner’s bending effort from the left hand side lacked the required curl on it.

Aguero’s lay off to Lampard produced a rasping drive from range which was heading for the net but for a strong hand from Neuer.

Captain Vincent Kompany tried guiding his team back into this contest with a volleyed effort from an outswinging Nasri corner, but it trickled out for a goal kick.

Jovetic pounced on a loose Alonso pass which sets free Aguero whose left footed finish slid past Neuer with aplomb and draw City level.

Then, in the 90th minute Aguero stole the ball from Boateng and drove the ball past Neuer to seal his hat-trick and the three points.

Micky Mellon not getting carried away

Manager Micky Mellon insists Shrewsbury Town will not get carried away ahead Saturday’s game against Portsmouth – after their 5-0 thumping of Bury on Tuesday.

Town take on Pompey in Sky Bet League 2 at the Greenhous Meadow this weekend (3pm kick-off) looking to continue their climb up the table with another victory at home.

A hat-trick from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro helped the Shrews to a resounding win over high-flying Bury on Tuesday night, but Micky wants to make sure his side continue to perform to their absolute best.

“We’ll look to follow-up the Bury performance by keeping our standards high and not get too carried away (against Portsmouth),” said Micky.

“If we come off the plan then we know we’ll be in for a very difficult afternoon, so it’ll be very tough but we expect to do what we’ve been doing and we should be fine.”

Town have won all of their last three matches – against Cheltenham Town, York City and Bury – ahead of the visit of Andy Awford’s side.

And Micky’s only focus is on an important first half against the South Coast club on Saturday.

“I’ve always said just take one half at a time and one game at a time because we’re still a very new group and we’ll be learning a bit more about ourselves for some time in the future,” he said.

“We’re not going to get carried away, we know what we’re going to do and we’ll keep our standards high on the training pitch.

“We’re looking at nothing other than the first half against Portsmouth.”

Team morale will be high after Tuesday’s demolition of Bury and even Micky managed to break into a smile after the result.

He said: “It was great. You’ve got to enjoy evenings like that because they don’t come along every week, and when they do come along you’ve got to make sure that you enjoy them and it was good that a lot of people did, but it’s back to business now.

“There’s a real healthy competitive atmosphere running through the whole football club.”

Micky is also hoping that Tuesday’s three-goal hero Akpa Akpro can continue his run of good form.

“It all came together for him on Tuesday night and you’ve seen what a huge threat he can be when he’s in that kind of form and that kind of mood,” said Micky.

“We’re pushing him and prodding him and trying to get that kind of performance from him on Saturday.”

Micky believes that Saturday’s game can be a real occasion for the club, with Pompey, a former Premier League side, expected to bring a mass travelling support with them.

“(Portsmouth) are in an absolute false position at the minute, they’ve got some terrific players and they’ve put together a really good squad,” said Micky.

“They’ll bring a massive following up here so we’re going to have to be at our best to get something from the game because they’re a really good side and they got a good result midweek.

“I think fan-wise there should be a decent gate there. Portsmouth are a fantastically supported football club and they’re very vocal so it’ll give our fans something to go up against and compete with as well.

“It should make for a fantastic atmosphere.”

Town can be buoyed by the potential return of Andy Mangan on Saturday, too.

Micky said: “We had a scan on Wednesday and that was positive so we’re expecting him to train tomorrow. He should come into contention for the weekend.”

Micky Mellon Pre-York City

Manager Micky Mellon is hoping that Saturday’s trip to York City can see the end of their winless away streak.

The Shrews have lost four in a row on their travels, despite having a fantastic home record and Micky believes that his side can claim their first victory away from home on Saturday.

Micky said: “We haven’t been good enough, the performances have been good but we haven’t got the results on the road to back up this home form, so we’ll go there with a game plan and try very hard to get an important result.

“We’ve got our confidence from Saturday and we’ll look forward to the challenge and want to get that first win on the road.

“We need to concentrate on what we have to do to try and get a result.”

The trip to Bootham Crescent also poses the problem of facing a team with a new manager. Russ Wilcox will take control of his first York game on Saturday and the players will be looking to impress their new manager.

Micky said about Wilcox: “I know Russ well and I know that he’ll come in there and want to do very well, very quickly.

“He has broken the record for a new manager with that unbeaten run at Scunthorpe, and also got himself sacked. It’s unbelievable how football works.”

Club Captain Liam Lawrence has found some form recently after claiming two assists in the 3-1 win against Cheltenham Town last week and has impressed Micky.

He said: “He’s well capable of doing that. We know he’s a lad of great ability and great experience and we know what he can bring to the team.

“He had a good impact in the second half at the weekend and there was only one person more delighted than me and that was Liam. He’s trained really well this week and we’ll look forward to the weekend and him carrying that on.”

Striker James Collins also found the back of the net on Saturday and has regained a bit of confidence.

Micky said: “It was massive for us because he’s a goalscorer that’s what they want to do, they want to score goals.

“We need him to score a lot more goals which he is very capable of, if he continues his good form, because he has been playing well, he just needs to add goals to that and he did on Saturday so we’re pleased for him.”

With midfielder James Wesolowski suspended for the trip to York, one of the fringe players will be looking to come in and influence the manager.

Micky said: “It’s a blow, but at least that gives someone the opportunity to come in and play.

“We have a squad of first team players here so somebody will be able to step up now and step in and will continue that job in there for us. I have every confidence that who we decide to go with will come in and do well for us.”

Michael Vernon Interview

With the league game against Bury looming, Shrewsbury’s new Performance Analyst, Michael Vernon, originally from Bury, talks about how he is settling in with The Shrews.

Having previously been at Burnley during their stay in the Championship, Michael was brought in by Mickey Mellon during the summer as part of the strengthening of his backroom staff for the new season.

He said: “I’m enjoying the challenge here. I came in during the summer and have met loads of new people.”

“There are some great people at the club to work with, and I’ve looked to set up a new department at the club so there have been a few challenges along the way trying to get the right equipment in but we’re all there now and I think it’s going well. I think they will learn a lot from it.”

Michael also added: “It’s an excellent time to join. Last year, I didn’t know what the situation was but since I’ve been here the staff have been excellent, they’re all willing to learn from me and I’m learning off them.”

“The players are very responsive to what I do, obviously new players have probably had similar staff to me before, so they know what I’ll be about but they’re very willing and take a lot on board. With the results so far, it seems to be working.”

Since Michael’s move to Shrewsbury, Micky Mellon’s men have reached 8th in the Sky Bet League Two recording five wins and three draws in their 12 games so far this season.

“The team have bonded excellently, the gaffer’s done a great job and he knows what he wants from the game.”

“He wanted someone like me to come in, I came down and had a chat with him in the summer and straight away I knew it was a chance for me to come in and see what I can build up at the club.”

Michael believes that some of the season’s success has been down to him and his analysis, he said: “I tell the gaffer and Jacko when it’s down to me, I don’t know whether they believe me, but it’s a team and I have an input. The gaffer, Jacko and Coyney have a huge input on the training ground too.”

Michael’s expertise has also helped The Shrews to an impressive 1-0 victory over Premier League new boys Leicester City in the Capital One Cup in August, resulting in a mouth-watering home tie with Chelsea at the end of the month.

Michael said: “We’ve played loads of systems already this season and there may be more to come, I don’t know, but it shows the adaptability of the players. It shows that this league doesn’t have to be 4-4-2, we can adapt, we can go a different way, and we can use things to counter oppositions.”

“I think it’s great that we’ve got that adaptability in the squad with the players and that sort of comes down to the recruitment side of it.”

On his move from Championship side (now Premier League) Burnley to League Two Shrewsbury Town, Michael said: “I haven’t been in League Two before and it is a different style of football than what I watch at home and what I have religiously studied.”

“But, if we stick to our principles, we know the right way to play. Can we put passes together and play with the ball. For me, everything you do starts with the ball and ends with the ball and it’s important you stick to that and so far we have.”

Fans may be thinking, ‘what does a performance analyst actually do?’ Michael explains: “It’s such an open question, but the main thing is trying to give performance insights.”

“The lads are playing football every day and they know football is their life, but what little bits of detail can we give them to improve? What things may they not know that we can provide? Can I give them information on their own performance? Can I give them information on the opposition?”

“It’s sort of feedback on performance and a lot of preparation going into games and it’s up to me to get all that information, get the stats, the videos put that together and make it accessible for the players.”

“We sat down at the start of the season and said we’ll look at X,Y and Z so we know what we’re looking at. We get stats based on that, we make that accessible and the gaffer will sit down and study that and ask, ‘how can we manipulate things to change those stats in our favour?’”

There’s a lot of work that goes into the work of a performance analyst. Michael said: “There’s a good workload. I’m in at half 7 every morning and there’s a lot to do, you need to prepare and if you don’t prepare then it’s not going to work.”

“We’ve killed quite a few trees to be honest with the amount of paper we’ve used, but a lot of information we have is statistical.”

“Anyone can sit and watch a football match, loads of people do because it’s good fun, but like I said we’re trying to work out what opposition teams are doing, so how can we counter that?”

“We’re looking at the footage, so it’s not just watching football it’s about understanding the game, understanding what people are trying to do, what purpose they’re trying to have, what purpose we’re trying to have and then it all comes together.”

“Before a game we’ll have a presentation that me and Jacko will deliver, only about 15 minutes, but it will give the players the information we think is necessary going in to the game on the opposition.”

Michael is also a huge fan of former Barcelona and current Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola. He said: “He’s an idol isn’t he? He’s a man that in football I look to, I watch all of his games listen to his press conferences, when I can understand them.”

“The way he is, the way he talks about football is what I believe in myself, the possession and the style. I was lucky enough to meet him before out in Germany.”