TOWN notched a fifth straight win in as many senior pre-season friendlies as they beat Blue Square Premier outfit Fleetwood Town 3-0 at their Highbury home last night.
Goals from Gary Roberts, Donal McDermott and Lee Novak did the trick in front of a crowd of 945.
Town manager Lee Clark opted for a formation that saw Jordan Rhodes playing as a lone striker, with Danny Ward and Roberts operating on the flanks plus McDermott advancing from midfield.
Oscar Gobern and Tommy Miller completed the midfield pattern playing in deeper roles.
Antony Kay, deployed alongside Liam Cooper in central defence, took the captain’s armband in the absence of injured Peter Clarke.
Town started the game at Highbury brightly, with Ward twice going close after cutting in from the right wing. Soon after, a Roberts raid from the right ended with him tumbling in the penalty area, but referee Neil Swarbrick awarded a free-kick to Fleetwood and took his time lecturing the winger for diving.
Town’s advanced midfield three were posing a real threat as their ability to change roles left the home side chasing shadows at times and, on 24 minutes, Town duly took the lead with Roberts supplying the finish.
Town almost added to their lead nine minutes before half time when Miller played in Rhodes and the striker’s shot on the turn missed the target by inches. Then, just a minute before the interval, last season’s leading scorer freed Ward but his attempt to score with a measured lob was badly misjudged.
On 54 minutes the midfield trio again terrorised the home rearguard as Ward sent Roberts away on the left and, from the cross, McDermott forced a solid save from Scott Davies.
Ten minutes later, the Fleetwood keeper beat out a thumping drive from Ward but the ball broke for McDermott, who tidily found the corner of the net.
And Town were home and dry when Novak, just minutes after replacing Rhodes, was rewarded for his persistence as he fought for a high ball and his header drifted away from the grasp of Davies into the net.
Fleetwood – Davies, Beeley (Trialist 59), Goodall, Linwood, Hughes, Barry, Briggs (Mangan 53), McGuire (Kavanagh 63), Till (Rowe 26), Brodie (Donnelly 59), Vieira. Subs not used: McNulty, St Louis-Hamilton, Wynn, Atkinson.
Town – (4-2-3-1): Smithies, Woods (Hunt 70), Naysmith, Kay, Cooper, Gobern (Atkinson 80), Miller, Roberts (Lee 77), McDermott (Cadamarteri 70), Ward (Gudjonsson 77), Rhodes (Novak 70). Subs not used: McCombe, Bennett, Crooks.