Danny Rowe’s record breaking goal in the 2-0 victory over Hartlepool United secured a first National League victory of the season for AFC Fylde.
Frontman Rowe surpassed the club record of 119 goals, set by former Coaster Richie Allen, with a neat finish late in the game after Henry Jones had set Fylde on their way shortly before half-time.
The goal, which was also Rowe’s 100th in the league for Fylde, helped the Coasters move up to 16th in the National League table.
Manager Dave Challinor stuck with the side that earned a 2-2 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend with new boy Tom McCready included amongst the substitutes.
The Coasters went close to stunning the home crowd with a early goal when Andy Bond’s floated ball into the box reached James Hardy unmarked at the back post but his header drifted narrowly wide.
There was little in the game during the opening stages and it was the trickery of Rowe that lit up a nervy affair. Although he lost his footing down the left much to the delight of the home support, the frontman kept possession superbly before beating his man and firing a low drive into the side netting.
The match had opened up with Hartlepool coming to life moments later and midfielder Jack Munns wasn’t far away with a first-time shot from 15 yards that fizzed wide of Rhys Taylor’s left post.
Fylde were beginning to turn the screw and only the quick thinking and reactions of goalkeeper Scott Loach prevented Jack Muldoon getting his toe to Rowe’s incisive through ball on the edge of the area.
After a lull in play, Rowe took aim from distance on the half-hour mark however his stinging strike was deflected around the post. Centre-half Jordan Tunnicliffe was desperately unlucky from the resultant corner, seeing his goal-bound header cleared off the line.
Fylde were in all honesty posing the far bigger threat however Hartlepool weren’t without chances of their own, Jake Cassidy chancing his arm from 25 yards with a strike that was well over the bar.
The Coasters deservedly broke the deadlock five minutes before the break. Muldoon clipped an inch perfect cross in from the left and Jones expertly volleyed home into the bottom corner at the first time of asking.
Boos rang around Victoria Park as the Coasters continued to dominate after the break and Rowe was close to grabbing his landmark goal when he shrugged off two markers but took too long to get his shot away and could only poke the ball wide.
The forward went closer still moments later – Loach having to dive full stretch to keep out his bending free-kick.
With the crowd on their back, Hartlepool were starting to lose their composure and both Muldoon and Lewis Montrose had shouts for penalties that were waved away.
The hosts were offering very little in the way of any attacking threat whilst the Coasters seemed content with keeping the ball. Rowe was causing problems from a wide position and very nearly picked out Muldoon on the six-yard line after turning his man on the by-line.
There were ironic cheers from the home fans with ten minutes to play as full-back Liam Donnelly dragged a long range strike wide – the host’s first effort of the second half.
To rub salt in the wounds, Rowe stepped up for his magic moment to effectively end the contest with just over five minutes until the whistle. Muldoon was tripped on the right and a clever free-kick routine saw Sam Finley drill a low ball into Rowe who cooly swept his effort into the bottom corner.
Hartlepool: Loach, Donnelly, Watson, Harrison (Richardson 45), Adams, Featherstone, Donaldson (Rodney 62), Newton, Munns (Hawkins 62), Franks, Cassidy.
Subs not used: Woods, Deverdics,.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Jones (McCready 76), Hardy (Smith 72), Muldoon, Rowe.
Subs not used: Lynch, Ezewele,, Blinkhorn.
Ref: S Lucas