AFC Fylde moved back to the top of the National League North after Bohan Dixon’s late strike sealed a 3-2 victory over title rivals FC Halifax Town.
Halifax defender Danny Hone netted at both ends in the second half before Dixon’s winner secured a first Mill Farm victory for the Coasters, who saw Matt Blinkhorn dismissed late on.
Manager Dave Challinor named an unchanged starting line-up from the side that drew 3-3 with Salford City in midweek.
Halifax made a bight start to the match had could have taken the lead when Scott Garner met a loose ball in the area but his first time strike was deflected around the post. Josh MacDonald’s ambitious overhead kick moments later was comfortable for Tony Thompson in the Fylde goal.
It took just 15 minutes for home striker Danny Rowe to test the Halifax stopper Steven Drench with a trademark free-kick, however the goalkeeper got down well to his thunderous strike from fully 40 yards.
The hitman took aim again when the ball broke kindly to the right of the box but he dragged his shot wide and out of the reach of the lurking Andy Bond.
At the other end, MacDonald was just wide with a near post glancing header as the two sides exchanged blows.
However it was the visitors that landed the first damaging shot on the half-hour mark. Talisman Tom Denton was played in by MacDonald from the right and although his initial strike was blocked by Josh Langley, the big man swept home the rebound from ten yards.
Their joy was short lived though and just two minutes later the scores were level. The unlikely figure of Caspar Hughes advanced towards goal before drilling a low strike into the bottom left hand corner. Hughes was on the prowl for a second but couldn’t quite get on the end of a James Hardy flick on after Dixon’s shot had been blocked.
Halifax midfielder Jake Hibbs was narrowly over the bar with a free-kick on the edge of the box as an evenly contested match reached the midpoint. There was still time for some heroics from Rowe as his headed Denton’s overhead kick off the line in the last action of the half.
It was the hosts that first threatened after the break when Rowe whipped in a delightful cross from the left that flashed wide of the far post.
Fylde completed the comeback five minutes after the restart when Rowe shifted the ball onto his left inside the box and his powerful strike was turned home in comical fashion by visiting defender Hone.
The momentum was with the Coasters and Sam Finley unleashed a fizzing effort from distance that Drench claimed at the second attempt.
Hone looked to make amends on the hour-mark when he met MacDonald’s cross from the right but it was straight into the grateful clutches of Thompson. However with just over 20 minutes left to play, Hone found redemption, netting a scrappy goal from MacDonald’s low cross.
Fylde were not to be kept down and were back ahead soon after. Dixon picked up the ball 25 yards from goal, beat his man and slid a neat finish into the bottom corner of the net.
There was still life in the visitor’s attack and Garner flashed a shot wide as Halifax desperately looked for a way back into the game. They very nearly found it when Matt Kosylo nipped in, but Thompson pulled off a fantastic fingertip save to nudge the ball onto the post.
There was a nervy ending to the match when Fylde substitute Matt Blinkhorn was adjudged to have kicked out at Hone and the frontman was given his marching orders just minutes after entering the field.
AFC Fylde: Thompson, Holmes, Langley, Williams, Kennedy, C. Hughes (Baker 77), Bond, Finley (Collins 87), Hardy, Dixon (Blinkhorn 81), Rowe.
Subs not used: M. Hughes, Newell.
Halifax: Drench, Hibbs, Wilde, Roberts, Hone, Garner, MacDonald, Kosylo, Denton, Sinnott, Peniket (Burrow 81).
Subs not used: Nicholson, Hughes, O’Brien, Barrows
Ref: Will Finnie