AFC Fylde secured a 20th consecutive game unbeaten in all competitions with a comprehensive victory over already-relegated Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Richie Allen was the star of the show scoring a 13 minute hat-trick either side of half time after having an earlier goal taken off him because it went in off defender Richard Haigh instead.
Joe Booth opened the scoring from close range before Allen made sure of the points and the visitors were well and truly beaten.
The home side took a while to get into the game and were restricted to a number of long range shots from outside the box – Bradley Barnes sent two efforts high and wide either side of Allen’s first attempt which was saved by goalkeeper Jack Ward, then Booth got in on the act shooting over on 14 minutes.
Matt Blinkhorn saw a curling effort palmed away by the impressive Ward on 20 minutes, who played brilliantly to keep the score as low as it was.
But the first goal came five minutes later when Adam Sumner’s free kick was palmed away by Ward, only for the ball to be played back into the area where Booth slid in to tap the ball into the net.
It took just four minutes for the second to arrive as man-of-the-match Allen burst through on goal only to see his effort come back off the post, cannon off Haigh and back into the goal.
Caspar Hughes, who came on as an early substitute for the injured Matt Hughes, was unlucky to see a sweetly struck shot rattle the crossbar and come back into play.
Right on half time, Allen did get a goal of his own when he was played through one-on-one with Ward and he calmly slotted it into the bottom corner for a 3-0 lead at the break.
The second half started just as brightly as the first ended with Allen on the score sheet for his brace curling a fine effort into the goal from the edge of the box on 49 minutes – although him and Haigh were playfully arguing over who scored the second as Allen tried to claim his hat-trick.
But, to put it beyond any doubt, Allen completed his hat-trick with Fylde’s fifth goal of the afternoon on 58 minutes – first losing the ball in a tackle, he recovered to dink the ball into the net from the edge of the box.
That was the end of the scoring from Fylde’s point of view but the visitors had a very brief spell which saw them cause one or two problems at the back for The Coasters.
Ben Hinchliffe almost spilled the ball into his own net when he couldn’t keep hold of Jamie Smith’s 30 yard shot but recovered well to gather the ball inches from his line.
Then defender Brett Lucas headed over from eight yards two minutes later as they searched in vain for a consolation.
Allen was denied of fourth by another decent save from Ward and Sean Cooke saw three attempts to add a sixth go begging all in the space of six minutes.
Blinkhorn, Cooke and Harry Winter were then denied by Ward or wayward shots and that was the last action of a very good performance from The Coasters.
Fylde boss Dave Challinor was pleased that his side chalked off another win saying: “I spoke before the game that the neutrals would think that this was a foregone conclusion before it kicked off but we knew that we had to be at it right from the start.
“To be 3-0 up at half time without playing particularly well it was a case of job done but we had to come out for the second half and really kick on.”
Challinor was frustrated at having to make the substitutions he did throughout the game adding: “They were all subbed because of injuries so you have to make the decision what to do as we only really had Jake as a defender on the bench so that’s why we ended up with Brad in the centre as our centre halves were seeing a lot of the ball.
“Hankin felt a strain in his back which he’s had a problem with before so that was a straight swap for Jake and then Andy felt a twinge in his hamstring so I suppose it’s fortunate that the score was 5-0 at that stage.
“It wasn’t ideal, but we had to finish with Brad and Jake at centre back with Adam and Barnesy as full backs.”
The next game sees Fylde make a midweek trip to Derbyshire to take on Ilkeston FC on Tuesday night for a 7:45pm kick off looking to add another three points in their hunt for promotion.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin (Gregory 53), Sumner, M. Hughes (C. Hughes 17), Russell (Winter 64), B. Barnes (C), M. Barnes, Booth, Blinkhorn, Cooke, Allen; Subs not used: Lloyd, Noon.