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17 July 2015

Dusseldorf edge out Blues in entertaining friendly despite Sears, Pitman and Maitland-Niles all finding the net

Town were edged out 4-3 by Fortuna Düsseldorf in an entertaining pre-season friendly at Paul-Janes-Stadion.

Goals from Freddie Sears, Brett Pitman and Ainsley Maitland-Niles weren’t enough for the Blues as the Germans came out on top thanks to a late winner.

Town started the game brightly and a hooked effort from Luke Chambers forced Michael Rensing into an early save for the hosts.

However Fortuna then took control of the early exchanges, with Bialkowski having to save from Pohjanpalo before Sercan Sararer dragged a shot wide after escaping away from Kyle Hammond.

Defender Karim Haggui then powered a header over the crossbar after meeting a Liendl corner, before Bialkowski again denied Fortuna with a smart save from the lively Ya Konan after the winger had beaten the offside trap

In fact the winger did have the ball in the net moments later, beating Bialkowski with a smart finish at the near post but it was disallowed for offside on the half hour mark.

However three minutes later, Dusseldorf did break the deadlock with Liendl converting from the penalty spot after a Town handball in a crowded area was spotted by the referee.

Yet the drama continued as just two minutes later Sears pulled Town level, latching onto a through ball before expertly lobbing Rensing and finding the back of the net.

The personal duel between Ya Konan and Bialkowski continued as again the Town stopped denied the winger, making a low save before then turning an effort around the post for a corner.

However the hosts did regain their advantage on the stroke of half-time, as Pohjanpalo turned home a cross from Kevin Akpoguma at the near-post.

An entire changed XI returned for the second-half and it was the Blues who were next to get on the scoresheet, with Pitman adding his third of pre-season just after the hour mark.

The ball was fired into him from the right and the former Bournemouth man showed some excellent close control before finishing beyond Rensing from close range.

Josh Emmanuel then broke down the right after being fed by Maitland-Niles and his low cross was met by the surging run of Benyu, but the midfielder saw his drive blocked by a defender.

Town then took the lead after 72 minutes with a lovely worked goal. Kevin Bru released Fraser down the right who looked up and found Maitland-Niles who then elegantly side-footed the ball into the corner in front of the travelling Blue Army.

However the lead lasted just two minutes as Dusseldorf were soon back on level terms, with Strohdiek heading home past Dean Gerken following a lofted ball into the area by Liendl.

The goals weren’t finished though as Dusseldorf edged back in front with seven minutes remaining, Sararer tapping in at the far-post after being picked out by Julian Schauerte’s low cross

That was the way it stayed as the hosts took the spoils in the latest friendly. The Blues take on Cambridge on Tuesday as the pre-season programme begins to take shape.



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