Fleet got back into the swing of 90 minutes with an excellent workout against League One opposition Shrewsbury Town.
Taking place at the 7,500-capacity Vila Real Santo Antonio Stadium with an 11.30am kick-off, both sides produced a surprisingly competitive game for an opening friendly and in such balmy conditions.
Fielding two different teams either side of half-time, Fleet – in their new home strip – began the match with new boys Magri, Payne, Weston and Mills in a standard 4-4-2.
A hard graft in midfield, there was little to trouble either goalkeeper after the opening exchanges when Nathan Ashmore got a smart stop on a 30-yard drive while at the other end Danny Mills’ header wasn’t far off after he benefited from an excellent interchange by Connors, Shields and Powell.
Shrewsbury looked to deliver a number of crosses but Fleet’s defence stood up well to that route of attack as well as snuffing out any threat from corners. It was a corner for the Fleet that saw skipper Dave Winfield go close before a spell of rather over-enthusiastic tackling saw two yellows cards issued, one for Jack Payne and one for a Town player.
Just as the teams looked to be heading in for the break on level terms, however, Shrewsbury struck and it was their young academy graduate John Mcatee who grabbed it.
Fleet emerged with an all-new lineup after the break including the addition of two attacking players on trial. Naturally, the flow of the game was interrupted somewhat but the competitiveness remained at the level of the first 45 minutes. Yado Mambo thought he might have earned an equaliser against his former club but that was disallowed by the officials and shortly afterwards, Shrewsbury made it 2-0 when former Port Vale striker Louis Dodds took advantage of a mistake by the Fleet and pounced to score past Miles.
The result won’t have bothered the watching Fleet management very much but they will have been content with the physical effort of their players as they matched their League One opponents blow for blow.
It’s back now to more familiar surroundings as the new away kit gets an airing at Tonbridge on Tuesday before a Tottenham side largely expected to consist of their U23 Premier League 2 squad comes to Stonebridge Road on Saturday.
EUFC / First-half: Ashmore, Boulding, Connors, Winfield, Magri, Powell, Payne, Weston, Shields, Mills, McLean
EUFC / Second-half: Miles, McCoy, Graham, Mambo, Clark, Rance, Cook, Trialist A, Trialist B, McQueen, Kedwell