Fleet humbled in defeat
With two recent wins under their belt Fleetwood were in buoyant mood and looking to follow up with victory against mid-table Tarleton.
Right from the whistle Tarleton made their intentions clear as they adopted a high tempo style of play attacking Fleet from all angles. Penned in their own half the green and golds tried valiantly to mount some attacking play, however with the lineout not functioning and the scrum going backwards it was a bit of an uphill struggle. In defence centre Mike Kelly was leading the way with some decent tackles, prop forwards Ricky Newton and Peter ‘biscuit’ Benny were on hand to make yards forward. Indeed 20 minutes had passed with neither team able to notch up any points. Inside centre Karl Bowling made a useful carry which then involved winger Harry Baker who showed neat footwork as he evaded several tacklers. Tarleton were growing in confidence and the deadlock was finally broken when Fleet No.8 Scott Richardson threw a speculative pass to the stranded Kelly, the ball missed the man which enabled the opposing winger to hack down the touchline to score a try with conversion 0-7 down. This simply fired Tarleton up as Fleet were having plenty of tackling to do, flankers Jordan Brocklehurst and Ben Langton were making great contributions at the breakdown. Not surprisingly Tarleton scored again in the far corner after a well worked backs move gifted their pacy winger an easy try, missed conversion 0-12. Following this Fleet turned the tables on their hosts with wave after wave of attack involving backs and forwards that created the opportunity for Langton to score a try from close range, conversion missed making it 12-5 at half time.
Changes occurred with twin Jack Brocklehurst replacing hooker Devon Brown . Within the first few minutes Fleet were still having to defend their line as Tarleton went looking for more glory. However, with connection restored at the lineout second row Rob Brookfield was able to secure some ball, alongside his partner James Lilley they both featured in loose play. Pressure was now mounting and it looked like Fleet would score themselves when they were camped in the Tarleton 22 only for the ball to be lost at the crucial moment. Rather than lose heart the green and gold men maintained the attack, Richardson broke down the far side who then offloaded to Benny who was out on the wing, he fended off a couple of tacklers before crossing the whitewash to score, conversion missed 12-10. At this stage Fleet were thinking they were back in the contest. From the kick off fly half Gavin Rowell returned the ball neatly nudging it deep into the Tarleton half. However the opposition withstood the efforts of the attack and regained a hold in the game. By now the Fleet scrum was being dominated which was making defending even more difficult, and from one such scrum the Tarleton No. 8 re-cycled the ball which went through the backs hands as the winger cut through to score, no conversion making it 17-10. Frustration was creeping into the green and gold game as needless penalties were being conceded, this just spurred Tarleton on even more. The defensive wall was breached again as the Carr Lane men opted for yet another scrum, this time the full back crashed through to score with a conversion added to make a final score of 24-10.
This certainly was a tough day at the office as the majority of the game for Fleet was spent on the back foot defending making it difficult to compete. For his ball carrying, a number of completed tackles it was centre Kelly who was nominated as man of the match. The game next week will be an even bigger task as Fleet travel to do battle with second place Della Salle of Salford.
Report by Dan Jefferson