AFC Fylde remain five points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference North thanks to a decent performance against visiting Oxford City.
Two goals in four minutes was enough to down an Oxford side that were kept well in the game thanks to an inspired goalkeeping performance but Joe Booth headed in the first just after the hour mark then Richie Allen doubled the advantage with a powerful shot from the edge of the six yard box.
However, Oxford’s resilience paid dividends late on as they won a free kick 25 yards out which Tom Winters curled over the wall and past Ben Hinchliffe in the Fylde goal to half the deficit four minutes from time.
Dave Challinor played the same side that won at Solihull Moors earlier in the week and after a nervy first minute which saw Adi Yussuf miss-hit a cross under pressure from Josh Langley just ten yards out Fylde dominated the rest of the half.
Both Josh Wilson and Allen headed a pair of Danny Lloyd crosses wide of the mark before Allen saw another attempt tipped around the post by inspired Spanish keeper Salvo De La Cruz inside the first ten minutes.
The Oxford stopper was on hand to deny Allen twice more soon after diverting further chances around the post from the Fylde striker.
On 16 minutes Danny Rowe’s attempted bicycle kick was cleared only as far as Wilson on the edge of the box and his powerful drive was sent over the crossbar by De La Cruz to keep the score at 0-0.
A minute later it was Rowe’s turn to shoot as he broke through the defence to surge into the six yard box but he couldn’t beat the Oxford keeper from point-blank range.
Mid way through the half the visitors settled and Javier Rodriguez could have done better with a strike that forced a routine save from Hinchliffe. Felipe Barcelos was then on hand to try his luck on the half hour mark but again, neither strike troubled the Fylde keeper.
De La Cruz again proved to be unbeatable as he stopped three more Fylde chances before the break, the first from Rowe before two strikes from Lloyd were calmly turned away.
The score remained 0-0 at half time largely thanks to De La Cruz’s heroics between the sticks for the visitors, a stark contrast to the previous meeting where Fylde led 6-1 at the break and went to score a further two goals in the second half.
This game wouldn’t see anywhere near as many goals but Fylde would feel frustrated that they didn’t get on the score sheet at least once in the first period.
But it was Oxford who started the second half brighter as Yussuf forced a decent stop from Hinchliffe on 47 minutes before Declan Benjamin’s low shot had Hinchliffe stretched five minutes later.
Fylde were back on top by the hour mark – Wilson was unlucky not to find the target with his shot before Allen was denied again by De La Cruz.
However, the Oxford keeper was finally beaten on 62 minutes when an excellent cross-field ball from Lloyd found Allen out wide and his looping cross found Booth racing into the six yard box and he was able to head past De La Cruz for the lead.
Four minutes later The Coasters doubled their lead through another decent cross, this time from substitute Mike Barnes, which allowed Allen to fire a powerful left-footed strike into the roof of the net.
Rowe and Wilson couldn’t add a third soon after as De La Cruz continued to show that he was a decent shot-stopper and as the game was coming to a close his side gained a lifeline to make it an interesting final few minutes.
Yussuf was brought down 25 yards out and Tom Winters was on hand to curl the ball over the wall and into the Fylde net.
And then deep in stoppage time Yussuf almost grabbed an unlikely equaliser for the visitors but Hinchliffe produced a fine save to deny the Oxford striker and claim all three points for The Coasters.
The next game for Fylde is the rearranged FA Trophy Second Round tie with AFC Telford United on Tuesday night (kick off 7:45pm).
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, B. Barnes (C), Booth (Tomsett 90+1), Wilson, Rowe (Blinkhorn 76), Lloyd (M. Barnes 63), Allen; Subs not used: Potts, Denson.
GOALS: Joe Booth (62), Richie Allen (66)
Oxford City: De La Cruz, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Del Alamo, Pond (C), Santiago, Jackson, Wilson, Yussuf, Rodriguez (Winters 54), Barcelos; Subs not used: Pearson, Afolabi.
GOAL: Tom Winters (86)
YELLOW: Declan Benjamin (55)
MOM: Josh Langley
REFEREE: Mr Paul Graham
STATS: (AFCF First)
Shots On – 17/4
Shots Off – 11/4
Corners – 15/4
Offsides – 5/5
Fouls – 4/6
Yellows – 0/1
Reds – 0/0