AFC Fylde secured their second victory of the Bank Holiday weekend with a 1-0 victory over Barrow in front of the BT Sport cameras.
James Hardy’s second half header was the difference in a tense affair as the Coasters moved into the top half of the National League table.
Dave Challinor named the same side for the third match running and his troops started brightly with Hardy was looking dangerous from the off, skipping past several challenges in the box before finally being thwarted before he could get a shot away.
Former Coasters man Dan Jones was presented with a glorious set-piece chance on the very edge of the Fylde box but sliced his powerful effort well wide of the left post.
Visiting striker Adi Yussuf looked to be offside when he was played through on the quarter-hour mark but the linesman’s flag stayed down and Rhys Taylor was forced into a decent save.
The hosts were starting to become a threat going forward and Sam Finley fizzed a vicious drive inches over the top after being found on the 18 yard line by Lewis Montrose as the pressure mounted.
The chance of the half fell to Fylde and it was record goalscorer Danny Rowe who superbly cut inside his man before firing a rocket that flew agonisingly wide of the far post.
Barrow had a wonderful opportunity of their own seconds later when Bedsente Gomis let fly from range and although Taylor spilled his fierce strike, the stopper more than made up for it with fantastic follow up save from Jordan White.
Midfielder Henry Jones plucked a loose ball out of the sky with a sensational touch as the half-time whistle approached however his attempt from 25 yards was watched over the bar by Barrow keeper Stuart Moore.
The Coasters were a whisker away from taking the lead on the stroke of half-time when Hardy broke down the left and found Rowe, who in turn played in Jones. The Welshman’s strike was blocked and the follow up from Jack Muldoon arrowed narrowly wide.
Rain descended on Mill Farm as the match restarted and was causing problems for both sides,
however, ten minutes after the break and the Coasters broke the deadlock. Rowe twisted and turned before letting fly from a tight angle and although his effort was saved by Moore, there was the lurking Hardy to gobble up the leftovers with a header from point-blank range.
The Bluebirds were struggling to break through a solid Fylde backline and a tame effort from Bradley Bauress was the solitary shot on target inside the first 15 minutes of the second period.
Only a last ditch tackle from Moussa Diarra prevented the Coasters from doubling their lead. Rowe broke clean though down the left and his parried strike fell kindly to Muldoon on the six yard line, however Diarra threw himself in the way.
The home crowd were made to hold their breath moments later when an almighty goalmouth scramble was eventually cleared from danger by Simon Grand. Alex-Ray Harvey fired a first-time strike over the top as Barrow desperately searched for a way back into the game.
Barrow were resorting to launching long balls and set-pieces into the area, however Taylor was having none of it and the BT Sport Man of the Match was controlling his area admirably.
There was a heart in mouth moment for the Coasters in the final minute of normal time when Harvey line up for a free-kick in a promising position 20 yards from goal however everyone in white was relieved to see it soar over the bar.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol (Ezewele 61), Montrose, Finley, Jones (Smith 70), Hardy (Blinkhorn 85), Muldoon, Rowe.
Subs not used: Lynch, McCready.
Barrow: Moore, Bartram, Jones, Diarra, Nieskins, Gomis, Harvey, Mahoma (Hughes 51), White (Panayiotou 82), Yussuf, Bauress (Harrison 66).
Subs not used: Ramsbottom, Cockerline.
Ref: Joseph Johnson