AFC Fylde recorded a fourth successive victory thanks to a tight 2-1 win over a decent Bradford side that were in it until the very end on Tuesday night.
Fylde took the lead through a Liam Tomsett header after 20 minutes but Bradford levelled the tie through Scott Karr’s stunning half-volley.
Danny Rowe gave the home side the lead early in the second half and The Coasters were able to hang on to move up to second in the Vanarama Conference North table.
The Coasters thought they had scored in the sixth minute when Tom Hannigan headed in Michael Potts’ free kick but the assistant referee had already raised his flag to declare Tomsett offside.
Nathan Hotte fired over a minute later before Chib Chilaka forced a good save from Ben Hinchliffe in a brief spell of pressure from the visitors.
But then Fylde began to press hard for that opening goal with Richie Allen missing two great chances to score from headers within two minutes. Following that Mike Barnes was unlucky not find anyone on the end of a couple of decent crosses soon after.
Barnes then tried his luck direct from a corner which had to be punched off the line by Bradford keeper John Lamb but Fylde did eventually score when Tomsett headed in Potts’ well-worked cross from the by-line on 20 minutes.
But Bradford started to grow into the game and found some momentum towards the end of the half. Hinchliffe had to punch away a corner under pressure from two attackers inside his six yard box and the visitors struck lucky on 40 minutes through a superb half-volley from Kerr which cannoned in off underside of the crossbar.
Bradford should have took the lead as Chilaka was denied by a defender’s leg six yards out before the referee awarded a penalty when Tomsett brought down Jack Rea just inside the area. Up stepped Paul Walker but Hinchliffe got low to his right to palm away his spot-kick and keep the score level.
However, The Coasters began the second period on top and within six minutes had restored their lead through Danny Rowe’s powerful volley connecting beautifully with Barnes’ cross 12 yards out to fire past Lamb.
Bradley Barnes felt the full force of Black’s 22 yard direct free kick on 58 minutes and the resulting rebound was fired high and wide by Kerr as Bradford went in search of a second equaliser.
But it was Fylde who had the next best chances with Mike Barnes missing a gilt-edged opportunity shooting over from all of six yards before Potts decided to square the ball to his right rather than take on the shot 10 yards out on 60 and 70 minutes respectively.
Chilaka almost forced a major blunder from Hinchliffe when he charged down his clearance with 15 minutes to go but the ball sailed wide of the empty Fylde goal and in the dying seconds Hinchliffe was on hand to deny Billy Priestley, catching his looping header in front of his line.
“We ground out a win which was pleasing as we played better than we did tonight against Lowestoft, Stalybridge and Guiseley and came away from those games with nothing” said Challinor after the match.
“To win the game was massive as I’d hasten to say most games in midweek are a little bit tighter and this was no different.
“I thought we were comfortable for 37 to 38 minutes, get a goal in front and then had a mad six minutes or so, they get an equalising goal from a worldy and then, all of a sudden, we concede a penalty but Ben makes a good save and at half time you’re thinking you’ve dodged a bullet.
“But it was a really good response in the second half as we go out and score a really good goal which wins us the game.”
Fylde now move on to a tricky away tie against Gloucester City on Saturday looking to keep the unbeaten run going. Kick off 3pm.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, B. Barnes (C), Tomsett (Hankin 72), Potts, Rowe, M. Barnes (Denson 90+1), Allen (Lloyd 80); Subs not used: Booth, Charles.
GOALS: Liam Tomsett (20), Danny Rowe (51)
Bradford Park Avenue: Lamb, Black, Priestley, Price (James 83), Qualter, Banton, Rea (Colbeck 75), Hotte (C), Chilaka, Walker (Barraclough 72), Kerr; Subs not used: Marshall, Howarth.
GOAL: Scott Kerr (40)
MOM: Ben Hinchliffe