AFC Fylde’s emphatic start to the season came to a grinding halt on Tuesday night as Stalybridge Celtic snatched all three points in a crazy five minutes at Bower Fold.
Ben McKenna scored the first with a cross-come-shot on 64 minutes and by the 69th it was 3-0.
Former Fylde winger Aidan Chippendale scored the second before Liam Dickinson rubbed salt into the wounds with the third to stun Dave Challinor’s side.
However, The Coasters started the game strong as Michael Potts almost caught Lewis King off his line trying to beat him from 35 yards on three minutes but sent his effort wide.
Potts was again unable to beat King from closer in four minutes later with the Celtic keeper watching the shot all the way to gather comfortably.
Dickinson had the home side’s first shot on goal on 12 minutes but fired a free kick over the bar from 25 yards and eight minutes on Paul Ennis couldn’t beat Ben Hinchliffe either.
Joe Booth came even closer when he had a free header on goal from Luke Denson’s pin-point cross but King was able to palm the ball into the ground just in front of his line and collect at the second attempt.
And Danny Rowe could have added his first goal for the club before half time shooting a loose ball well wide from six yards before testing King from way out which had the keeper scrambling to gather the ricochet.
Dickinson had the final say of the first half when he fired inches over from just inside the Fylde box.
It was an even start to the second period as McKenna and Rowe failed to find the target a minute apart in an end-to-end opening.
Defender Matt Regan shot way over the bar on 57 minutes but within seven McKenna had scored his sides first with a cross-come-shot which beats everyone apart from the back post.
Chippendale added the second two minutes later with a coolly timed shot past former team-mate Hinchliffe and within minutes it was 3-0 when Dickinson headed McKenna’s cross into an open net.
The Coasters were clearly shell-shocked and struggled to gain any momentum that they had in the first half and despite Sam Staunton-Turner clearing a corner off the line four minutes from time it was too little, too late for any chance of a come-back.
“This was never a 3-0 game, or even a 1-0 game, but I suppose it was going to take a little bit of magic or a bit of luck to decide it and we never got it” Challinor said at full time.
“We’ve not responded to the disappointment of the first goal and that’s something that we need to work on as there will be times in the season where things don’t go your way but you’ve just got to get on with it.”
Challinor still felt his side played well but couldn’t find that killer touch which was so evident in the previous game adding: “We played well in the first half but couldn’t find that final bit of quality like we did on Saturday. But the game turns on a 50/50 challenge which we don’t win and a cross that goes in.
“From that we capitulated within five minutes – both full backs made errors for both goals and that puts us out the game.
“3-0 looks like an open game that you deserved to lose but it certainly wasn’t that. It looks like you haven’t defended well but I thought the two centre halves were fantastic, and Brad Barnes was very good, so I feel sorry for them more than anything.
“It’s a team game and them lads know that they’ve made mistakes so we’ll brush ourselves down and make sure that, come Saturday, those mistakes won’t happen again.”
A long trip to Lowestoft follows for The Coasters on Saturday where they will be desperate to put this result behind them as soon as possible.
Kick-off for that game is at 3pm.
Stalybridge Celtic: King, Crowley (Bleau 61), Truelove, Hughes, Regan (C), Staunton-Turner, Chippendale (Wigley 75), Mainwaring, McKenna, Ennis (Cadman 87), Dickinson; Subs not used: Heath, Martin.
GOALS: McKenna (64), Chippendale (67), Dickinson (69)
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Denson, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, B. Barnes (C), Booth (Tomsett 70), Potts (Lloyd 70), Rowe, M. Barnes, Allen (Charles 80); Subs not used: Hughes, Noon.
FYLDE MOM: Michael Barnes