Billy Bricknell could not have fired the starting gun for Fleet’s launch on Skrill South any better than by delivering a hat-trick in the final pre-season game of the summer – taking his goals tally to eight in his last five games in the process.
Clearly yet to feel the effects of missing his strike partners Ben May and Michael Thalassitis, Bricknell was again paired with Anthony Cook, while in midfield Steve Brown took another opportunity to run the rule over Dominic Green.
And Fleet made most of the early running, with Bricknell always looking lively, firing just wide after good work from Stacy Long on 12 minutes and then clearing the crossbar with an effort from close range as the ball slipped from his control. Cook had an effort that wasn’t far off the target on 24 minutes before a minute later earning a penalty when brought down in the box. Bricknell stepped up to despatch it with confidence.
And the in-form Fleet striker wasn’t far off adding to his tally in the first half, a neat turn and shot coming back off the post on 31 minutes, and goalkeeper Grant Smith tipping his header over shortly before half-time.
With the home side firmly in control, it was little surprise when Bricknell added a second on 58 minutes, tucking a shot away from the edge of the penalty area, before wrapping up a hat-trick – and all without having actually kicked a ball in anger for his new club – on 69 minutes, a clever lob too much for the despairing Smith.
The Fleet manager will have been more than happy with the vast majority of his pre-season programme and now turns his attention towards adding to his squad before the big kick-off in seven days.
TEAM: Edwards (Hall 63), Howe, Palmer, Lorraine, Huke (Sankofa 79), Corcoran, Green (Fakinos 75), Rance (McMahon 75), Long (Phipp 75), Bricknell, Cook