MANAGER SACKED, CRAINEY STEPS UP & FLEETWOOD BATTLE FOR POINT AT WIMBLEDON!
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Welcome back, it's nice to see you have returned to my website to read the fourth blog of this 2021/22 football season, and this one is full of news stories and more high action quality images.
Well where do we start in the month of November? I could dive forward and talk about Simon Grayson's sacking, but I will leave you on the suspense with that. I thought on the first match of the month, Fleetwood were going to pick up their first win in four games. However, it wasn't meant to be and a two goal lead for the Cod Army slipped away from them when Wigan Athletic visited Highbury Stadium. Three late second half goals from the Latics saw them pick up all three points with a 3-2 victory, and it wasn't easy for the fans of Fleetwood to watch their team sink after being comfortable in the game.
Danny Andrew scored another free-kick and it was another special one. The image below is one that was captured on the night with my settings at 1/1250th of a second at f3.2 and on auto ISO. Despite Town losing this game, this image was used in The Sun the following day, which was a nice little surprise on Wednesday morning, and a nice little added bonus to the end of month kitty!
The following photos were taken from Town's second goal, which saw Callum Morton bag from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 to Fleetwood with 52 minutes on the clock. The penalty shot and the frame with players celebrating with the fans were great, but in the end after conceding three late goals, it wasn't to be Fleetwood's night.
It was a break from Sky Bet League One action for the Cod Army on Saturday 6 November, and it was a visit of Burton Albion - who previously played at Highbury Stadium in the league back on Tuesday 19 October 2021. With this being Fleetwood's home game closest to Remembrance Sunday, the Club paid their respects to those who fought in both World Wars and those who are still fighting in combat to this day. From myself and everybody who reads this post, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM!
The Cod Army lost the Emirates FA Cup First Round tie against Burton, with the visitors winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Joe Powell and Daniel Jebbison after Fleetwood Town opening the scoring 12 minutes from the start with forward Joe Garner bagging his first for the club. It was a nice overcast afternoon on the Fylde Coast for a change (well the rest of the month wasn't dry at all haha) and it allowed me to really speed up the shutter speed to 1/1600th of a second and freeze eve more of the action.
Below are some of the images from that cup tie at Highbury Stadium.
Fleetwood had another home game three days after exiting the FA Cup, and this was a Papa John's Trophy Group Stage match against local rivals, Accrington Stanley. Both teams had qualified for the knockout stages after two wins from two, but this match was to decide who finished first, ultimately providing themselves with a home tie.
Accrington took the lead in this match with a thunderbolt from Harry Pell, with Town striker Ged Garner slotting home from 12-yards to make it all square. Stanley scored just before the interval, then adding two more goals in the second half to secure top spot in the group and home advantage in the next round. Fleetwood finished second and got an away tie against Bolton - which you will see images later in this blog.
Following a week off due to the international break, Town had time to regroup off the pitch and get ready for a local derby match against Morecambe - who were promoted to League One in May after a Play-Off Final win against Newport County. It was a huge game for both sides, with Fleetwood looking to exit the relegation zone, and Morecambe wanting to put distance between themselves and the bottom of the table.
Fleetwood found themselves a goal down after only 11 minutes, with Callum Jones scoring for Morecambe. It was a game where Fleetwood had their chances, with Jay Matete's strike (first image below) being saved by the Shrimpers goalkeeper and many more chances failing to hit the back of the net. Fleetwood did level the scoring eight minutes from time with Portsmouth loanee Callum Johnson scoring a header from a set-piece. Town dominated from that point on and should have gone a goal up with Callum Morton's header, but that saw just guided wide of the far post.
Well... There was late drama at Highbury and it wasn't good news for Fleetwood Town. In form striker Cole Stockton scored from inside his own half after rolling his defender, seeing his effort fly over Alex Cairns - Fleetwood's goalkeeper - and hitting the net right in front of the traveling away supporters in added on time. It was a kick in the teeth for Fleetwood as they probably could have stole the points, but it wasn't to be and manager Simon Grayson's tenure was getting close to being over.
Oxford United: Away! The game which saw Grayson leave his post as Head Coach following a 3-1 defeat on the road at The Kassam Stadium. Town never got going in the match and found themselves two goals down after 13 minutes, it could have been more if Oxford had their shooting boots on.
Jay Matete did bag his first goal for the Club five minutes before half-time, but a goal 20 minutes from full-time from Nathan Holland saw Karl Robinson's COVID-19 hit side pick up a vital three points on home soil. If you're a football fan, you have a sense of what's going to happen and once the final whistle had been blown, you kind of had an incline that the Club were going to sacked their manager. The news broke the following morning, with former Blackpool and Celtic defender, Stephen Crainey stepping up as Interim Head Coach. Crainey has coached Fleetwood's U23s / Development Squad for a few years, so I wish him all the best in his time as Fleetwood boss.
With Grayson gone and Crainey in charge on interim basis, it was a tricky trip to the capital for Fleetwood Town. AFC Wimbledon were their opponents, a side who are just above the Cods in the table and again you could say it was another six pointer. In this match, I probably got my favourite celebration picture of the season however, after 60 seconds had passed and celebrations were over, the linesman decided to raise his flag for offside. It was a shock to us all but before the main action, here's that frame!
The game finished 2-2 at the new Plough Lane (what a great setup I have to say) with Fleetwood scoring the first through Ged Garner, but then it was deja vu for the red and whites as Wimbledon scored two second half goals to make it 2-1 to the hosts. With six minutes left on the clock, up stepped Callum Johnson to head home from 6-yards out, his second goal in three games. I believe the young full-back is looking to make it double figures for the season haha!
The players stepped up to the plate and showed resilience in the game to come from a goal behind to salvage a point. I thought Fleetwood deserved more from the match, but it was a draw and it stopped the rot of five straight defeats in all competitions. With a couple of big games coming up in December, it sure will have given the fans and the squad belief that they can rescue their position. Below are some images from the match.
The final game of the month saw that Papa John's Trophy Round Two match take place at the University of Bolton Stadium. Town's interim boss Stephen Crainey named a young side for the clash, with all eyes on the all important Sky Bet League One match against Accrington on Saturday 4 December (3pm KO).
Bolton Wanderers went near enough full strength, with boss Ian Evatt wanting to keep their good momentum going and it was the right decision with them securing a place in Round Three after a 1-0 victory over his former Blackpool teammate, and defensive partner, Stephen Crainey.
Here are some of the images from stadium. I would like to give Paul Currie a shout out for allowing me to test his Canon EOS 1DX MKII camera body out. This allowed me to use my 1DX MKI on the 300mm lens and put the model above on my 70-200mm lens, giving me 14 frames per second for the goal-mouth action.
Thank you for reading this blog. Your support is much appreciated. Here's to a great December - let's hope the Cod Army can pick up some wins and push themselves away from the relegation zone.
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 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM lens, along side my new Canon EOS 5D MKIII with the Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L IS 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