AFC Fylde were knocked out of the FA Trophy by a resilient FC United side who quite simply took their chances better.
A two minute brace for Craig Lindfield early in the first half set the stall for a frustrating afternoon for The Coasters and had Dave Challinor’s side on the back foot. And when Jerome Wright buried a 38th minute penalty the game looked won from a United point of view.
Josh Wilson headed Fylde back into it on 58 minutes but despite having more chances, Fylde couldn’t find another breakthrough and United held on to win a place in the Quarter Finals.
Playing the same starting eleven which brought him so much success on Tuesday night in the last round, Challinor’s side struggled to find momentum early on and it was United’s full back Greg Daniels who had the first shot on goal after three minutes, cutting inside to fire over.
Two quick chances within a minute saw Fylde go close with Mike Barnes and Liam Tomsett firing wide in the ninth and tenth minutes respectively but soon after disaster struck for the Conference North leaders.
United were able to send a cross into the box which found Lindfield free at the far post where he had time and space to tap in to volley in close range.
And within two minutes Lindfield had doubled his side’s lead but not before Matty Wolfenden was played in one-on-one only by a poor back-pass only to shoot a great chance over the bar.
Lindfield was able to collect a pass on the left side of the box, cut inside and beat an unsighted Ben Hinchliffe at his far post with a low curling strike for his second.
It could have been 3-0 as early as 25 minutes when another mix-up in the usually solid Fylde defence allowed Tom Greaves in on goal but the angle was too much and Hinchliffe comfortably saved his strike at the near post.
Danny Rowe was unlucky to not find the target with a well struck header from Adam Sumner’s cross four minutes later during a decent spell for the visitors which materialised into nothing.
Then with 38 minutes on the clock United extended their lead further when referee Martin Coy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot after Tom Hannigan brought down Daniels despite looking to have won the ball fairly, and Jerome Wright stepped up to calmly fire home.
After Rowe headed another half chance wide for Fylde Wolfenden was in again, this time from a pass from his own team mate, but Hinchliffe watched it all the way to come and smother the ball at his feet.
But the half was summed up in the final few minutes when Wilson was played in by Rowe and despite having two bites at the cherry he couldn’t beat Dave Carnell or his defence in getting the ball over the line.
Fylde needed an early goal in the second half and almost got it when a free kick found centre back Josh Langley in acres of space at the back post but his effort was frustratingly easy for Carnell inside 47 minutes.
Amazingly United failed to capitalise on another defensive mistake on 54 minutes as Langley lost the ball on the edge his box to allow Greaves in but he fired wide when it looked easier to score.
Four minutes later Fylde finally got on the score sheet with a well worked goal that saw Wilson head home Richie Allen’s cross to pull the score back to 3-1.
Chances continued to fall for both sides. Rowe had another chance to score but sent his header wide of the mark from Lloyd’s cross and Lindfield came close to completing his hat trick with a free kick that Hinchliffe had to tip over his bar at full stretch just after the hour.
It clearly wasn’t Fylde’s day, and in particular Rowe’s, as another cross, this time from Wilson, fell perfectly for the Fylde striker but he couldn’t keep his header down and sent it over with 11 minutes left.
Liam Brownhill and Lindfield couldn’t restore United’s three goal lead late on before another surge from Fylde saw Rowe and Lloyd fail to score for Fylde.
And that’s how the game ended and with it Fylde’s dreams of reaching a Wembley Final. However, coming next is the visit of Chorley on Saturday when The Coasters return to league action.
FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Brownhill, Daniels (Walwyn 84), Birch (C) (Stott 75), Lacy, Ashworth, Wolfenden, Brown, Greaves (Norton 90), Wright, Lindfield; Subs not used: Byrne, Lynch.
GOALS: Craig Lindfield (16, 18), Jerome Wright (38 pen)
YELLOW: Dean Stott (86)
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, B. Barnes (C), Tomsett (Booth 46), Wilson, Rowe, M. Barnes (Lloyd 60), Allen (Blinkhorn 81); Subs not used: Denson, Potts.
GOAL: Josh Wilson (58)
YELLOWS: Danny Lloyd (65), Richie Allen (81)
MOM: Josh Wilson
REFEREE: Martin Coy