Morecambe boss Jim Bentley pleased to end pre-season with 'tough' Fleetwood Town test
Their pre-season might have ended with a 3-1 defeat but despite the result Morecambe boss Jim Bentley believes that tough test against Fleetwood Town will stand them in good stead ahead of the new League Two season.
It was a feisty affair as the Lancashire coastal derby saw meaty challenges from both sides as Joey Barton's unbeaten start to management rolled on.
His new League One side Fleetwood dominated possession for the majority of the game and asked questions of Morecambe's defence with Bentley dubbing their striker Ched Evans' showing one of the best he had seen on their home turf in a long time.
Though Bentley was pleased to see his side create chances with Aaron Wildig forcing Alex Cairns into a fine diving save just before Conor McAleny opened the scoring for Town in the 22nd minute.
Wes Burns made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute but Andy Fleming's deflected effort in the 52nd was a deserved goal for Morecambe, the hosts this time rewarding their good start to a half with a goal.
But ex-Accrington man Bobby Grant popped up with the goal of the game just after the hour mark to put the game to bed.
Though boos could be heard from the stands given the home faithful felt Alex Kenyon was fouled before Grant thundered home.
Tensions boiled over towards the final whistle after Kenyon caught substitute Kyle Dempsey late but the game finished 3-1.
Bentley was boosted by more minutes for centre half Steven Old but his partner Sam Lavelle missed the game due to an ankle knock and now faces a race to be fit for Crewe on August 4.
And given those defensive injury worries Bentley was satisfied with a tough challenge that tested his defence.
"He said: "It was very tough, on that evidence, credit to Fleetwood.
I thought they were excellent with Ched Evans up front I thought that was one of the best centre forward showings we have seen in a long time down here.
"I wish them all the best.
"They gave us a proper good game.
"We did want a test and we certainly got that.
"I thought it was competitive at times, we have had plenty of football recently when we have had the lion share of possession and momentum going forward but on Saturday we had to dig in at times and really battle away to try and contain a very good Fleetwood side.
"Pre-season is about getting the minutes in and getting back to what you are doing.
"Large spells of this pre-season has been about on the ball and scoring good goals, plenty of them.
"But Saturday was more about a defensive showing.
"Not to say we did not create enough chances, we certainly created plenty and decent enough chances, scoring one.
"It was a proper tough game, what we needed.
"Some good signs, some indifferent signs but that is pre-season, it is a work in progress and we will take what we need to out of it and put it all into practice this week ready for the Crewe game on Saturday."