Jamie Darvill scored his first Fleet goal in only his second game of the season as his side picked up where they’d left off against Luton Town, winning relatively comfortably at Telford to lift Liam Daish’s team into 19th.
Ricky Shakes, fresh from his moment in the sun of the West Indies, returned to the starting line-up, replacing the injured Giannoulis Fakinos but other than that Liam Daish kept faith with the starters from the Luton game, maintaining his centre-back pairing of Paul Lorraine and Yado Mambo. And there was good news from the Mambo camp before kick-off with the news that the Charlton loanee had signed a three-month work experience deal, though the Addicks maintai a 24-hour recall option.
Fleet set the pace from the first whistle in this battle of the North/South play-off winners and could have been in front inside the opening minute when a free kick found Joe Howe and he knocked the ball into Jamie Darvill’s path and the new Fleet signing’s shot was well-saved by goalkeeper Ryan Young. Five minutes later Calum Willock got sight of goal and shot just wide as the visitors made the best of the early spell.
Telford were restricted to a couple of wayward crosses and were a little disjointed as Fleet looked the better side. Michael West shot wide on 16 minutes and then Darvill’s next effort was blocked by Young. But Darvill made no mistake with his next opportunity. On 24 minutes, a Fleet free-kick was lofted into the area and it fell for Darvill who forced the ball over the line to put his side in front.
Darvill was enjoying a good first half and he was in the thick of the action again just past the half-hour mark when he delivered Howe’s cross just over the crossbar. Telford’s best chance came two minutes before half-time when Greg Mills’ effort was cleared off the line by Mambo as the Fleet looked rocky for the first time.
Bucks boss Andy Sinton was clearly unhappy with his side’s performance and took Phil Trainer and Craig Farrell off at the start of the second half. But Fleet almost drew blood again early on when Shakes played Darvill in but former Fleet defender Will Salmon was on hand to clear his lines.
Telford gradually reimposed themselves on the game and a couple of corners kept the Fleet defence busy as tackles started to come in hard and the home supporters grew a little more vociferous. But their rallying cry was caught in their throats on 56 minutes when Fleet put the game beyond reach. Again Darvill was instrumental as he slotted a pass to Willock and the Fleet’s top scorer fired a hard shot from an angle that flew past Young into the side of the net.
Daish must have been delighted with the way his side set about maintaining their two-goal advantage as they refused to give the home side any quarter. Willock tested Young with another shot from another pass courtesy of the irrepressible Darvill and Fleet kept the pressure on with set pieces.
Tom Phipp received a knock and made way for Alex Stavrinou on 66 minutes and Darvill finally ran out of puff with 10 minutes left after a fine game, with Ginty replacing him. But it failed to upset the Fleet rhythm with Telford restricted to a couple of free kicks that failed to breach the visitors’ back line and late efforts from Adam Proudlock, Greg Mills and Chris Sharp.
The travelling Fleet contingent were in fine voice as their side confidently closed the game out, hopeful that this might be a corner turned for the club with games against Grimsby and Kettering to come – before the FA Cup comes calling.
TEAM: Edwards, Stone, Howe, Mambo, Lorraine, Marwa, West, Phipp (Stavrinou 66), Shakes (Azeez 90), Darvill (Ginty 80), Willock. Subs not used: Welch, Simpemba
Michael West beat Yado Mambo to Tuesday’s man of the match vote. Vote for the Telford MotM using drop-down menu above.