My month started in Shropshire, where Fleetwood Town travelled to face Shrewsbury Town in Sky Bet League One. With each game, I always check my gear is clean and charged and ready to use and this game was no exception. I knew the weather was going to be miserable for this match and made sure my waterproofs were packed and easily accessible - I am glad I planned as I still got absolutely drenched.
The match itself was a game of two halves - pardon the football cliche - with Fleetwood having the better of the first and Shrewsbury edging the second. Anthony Pilkington has been on fire for the last few games and showed his class once again with a fine header from close range to put the away team a goal up. Paddy Lane - a Northern Ireland international - crossed the ball into the penalty area and there was only one outcome...Goal!
I was gutted to miss the goal as my focus latched onto the stand behind my subject, however I made sure I got the celebrations, which is the next best thing for sports photographers to capture. Due to my subject running to the other side, I was using my 300mm lens and still had to crop the images - I thought portrait would suit this best due to Pilkington being on his own.
The second half didn't see too much action down the Fleetwood attacking end, and with the Salops creating chances, it was only a matter of time before they got their equaliser. They scored shortly after the restart and despite lots of time left in the game, it was a point a piece for these two sides, with the result not really helping either side in terms of pushing away from the dreaded relegation zone.
Here are some other images from the game at the Montgomery Waters Meadow:
I don't really want to speak too much about the next match, which was Fleetwood Town vs MK Dons at Highbury Stadium. the conditions were awful and I was really disheartened after the game as I knew my quality wasn't there. It will sure be a learning curve for me in my photographer career and I will learn so much from it.
After reflecting and having some further edits done to my photos, here are the best (can I say that?) images from the one-all draw, which saw Paddy Lane got on the scoresheet for the Cod Army!
The third game of February came with a trip to Cheltenham, and with the sun out and the rain gone (thank God for that after Tuesday night) it was back to business for me. It was a new stadium which now takes me to ground number 71 out of the current 92 teams in the top four leagues in England (Premier League down to the EFL League Two).
Well it was a game to forget for the Club and its supporters who made the six hour round coach trip to Gloucestershire to see their side lose 2-0. Fleetwood did start off brightly but with one mistake the game swung into the hosts favour and bagged two late goals in the first half. There wasn't much action down my end, but I will showcase some of the photos from the game.
The next game saw Fleetwood welcome last season's Play-Off Finalist, Lincoln City to Highbury Stadium. With the reverse fixture finishing 2-1 to the Imps, it was an opportunity for the Cod Army to get revenge, but also set the record straight after the match against Cheltenham.
But the game never went ahead. An unexpected snowfall at 10am on the day of the match meant that conditions on the pitch and around the stadium were not safe enough for the players and the teams themselves, as well as the spectators who would have made the trip to Highbury.
Well, with a chance to get some snow pictures around the stadium, here are some of my best shots from the home of Fleetwood Town:
For the final game of the month, it saw Fleetwood make the 10 hour round trip to Fratton Park to face in-form Portsmouth who had won their last three matches (including a 4-0 win in their last home match).
Well the game of two halves cliche will be used for this match blog, and it certainly was that as the Cod Army were three goals to the good thanks to goals from Anthony Pilkington, Harrison Biggins and Paddy Lane. Portsmouth did manage to pull one back just before the half-time whistle, but it was Town who were deserved of their scoreline at the break.
Should I mention the second half? Not sure if there's too much to write about actually as from a photographers point of view, there wasn't much action down my end to shoot, and even with the 300mm, I was shooting players on the halfway line and making major crops to my images in post. Anyway, Pompey did score two goals in the second half with another ruled out for offside. A frustrating afternoon for all concerned at Fleetwood. If you asked many if they'd have taken a point before the game, fans would have ripped your arm off, however with being three goals ups, it felt like a defeat to many.
Plenty of positives for Stephen Crainey and his men, who will now face Wigan Athletic - another team looking for promotion this season - on Tuesday night. Another huge game for Fleetwood Town.
Thank you for reading this blog. Your support is much appreciated. Let's see what happens in the month of March for Fleetwood Town, a month that could determine their future in League One.
WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE FOR MY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Throughout this month, I was using my Canon EOS 1DX Mark One camera body with the Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L IS USM lens, along side my new Canon EOS 1DX MKII with the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM lens. I take my stadium shots and wider angle frames on either camera body, using the Canon EF 24-105mm f4 lens. If you would like to see what I use, please click on the links. If you'd like to know more on my camera set-up, please leave me message or find me on social media. Thank you!
Sam Fielding / SLF-Studios
Photos are owned by PRiME Media Images