AFC Fylde put four goals past visiting FC United of Manchester without reply as The Coasters took all three points with a terrific all round performance at Kellamergh Park.
A first half long range strike from Sam Finley was added to in the second half by a Richie Baker free-kick, a cultured Dion Charles effort and a deflected Danny Rowe header. The Coasters were in firm control throughout the game, although FC United had their goalkeeper David Carnell sent off after fifty-four minutes for a foul on Matty Hughes just outside the box.
A returning Sean Cooke had the first shot of the game as he fizzed a shot well wide of Ben Hinchliffe’s far post. Cooke had two successful loan spells at The Coasters in the 2012/13 season as well as the 2013/14 season.
Matty Hughes made his first start of the season for The Coasters and went close to giving Fylde a ninth minute lead as he was played through by Matt Blinkhorn and went one on one with David Carnell in the FC United goal buy Carnell got down well to keep out the former’s shot and keep the scores level – but the deadlock was broken just one minute later.
Summer signing Sam Finley has been a key acquisition for The Coasters so far this season and he fired Fylde into a tenth minute lead with a fine 25 yard drive that flew past Carnell and into the back of the FCUM goal to give The Coasters the lead.
In truth, FC United had a lot of the early ball, but The Coasters were having by far the better chances. Dion Charles raced down the right on the counter-attack and won a free-kick, which Danny Lloyd took a chance from, from about 30 yards out. Lloyd fired wide, but the chances were mounting up for the home side in the opening fifteen minutes.
FC United started to come into the game just before the half an hour mark, as Dean Stott broke through the Coasters defence but he couldn’t find a way past Hinchliffe in the Coasters goal as he pushed the initial shot away, and Rory Fallon put the rebound over the bar.
It would be written in the stars that Sean Cooke would return to Kellamergh Park and be a thorn in The Coasters side and he very nearly was. A fine FCUM moved fell to Sean Cooke just inside the Coasters penalty area and Cooke tried to fire the ball into the net of the net with an acrobatic attempt but fortunately for Fylde, the ball cannoned off the bar and away to safety. A close shave.
Straight down the other end, Caspar Hughes broke down the right hand side and his cross-shot was tipped onto the bar by Carnell and FC United cleared the ball to safety. Moments later, Dion Charles fired wide of the target, but The Coasters were having much the better rub of the green in the first half.
Making his first start of the season for Fylde, Matty Hughes thought he had put The Coasters 2-0 up on thirty-two minutes as he fired past Carnell into the back of the net after the initial shot from Charles was parried out. Fortunately for the away side, Hughes was flagged for offside by the linesman and the score remained 1-0.
With just a couple of minutes to go until half-time, Dion Charles raced away down the right and fired a shot wide before winning a corner which eventually came to nothing but FC United broke down the other end and the ball found its way to Madeley who somehow managed to fire the ball agonisingly wide for the visitors when it looked easier to score.
Into the second half and Dean Stott nearly brought FC United back into the game with a header from a Sean Cooke delivery, but the former’s header was straight at Hinchliffe and the danger was thwarted. Rory Fallon then went about trying to bring the away side back into the game and level the score but his effort from twenty yards out took a deflection and was comfortable for Hinchliffe.
The tide of the game took a twist when David Carnell, the FCUM goalkeeper was sent off for bringing down Matty Hughes when one on one and as Carnell was dismissed after fifty four minutes. The foul was just outside the box, so Richie Baker stepped up and fired the ball past the substitute Chris Lynch who went in goal despite not being a regular goalkeeper after fifty-seven minutes. 2-0 to The Coasters with a man advantage over their opponents.
With a not-so-regular goalkeeper in goal for the away side now, The Coasters set about adding to their goal tally and Dion Charles nearly went about that straight after the goal as he fired straight at the keeper who saved well with his feet. Whilst FCUnited didn’t have a recognised keeper on the pitch, Fylde certainly did in the shape of Ben Hinchliffe and he tried a shot from his own goal-kick, which Lynch did well to get back and recover to keep the ball out.
Matty Blinkhorn went close twice a couple of minutes later, but both of his attempts at goals were blocked courageously by Dean Stott. Stott however could do nothing to stop The Coasters third goal, infact non of the FCUM player could get near Dion Charles as he fired past Lynch on sixty-six minutes to fire The Coasters into a 3-0 lead.
From then onwards it was all Fylde as they coasted towards a sixth league victory of the season and substitute Danny Rowe hit the bar on seventy-three minutes with a terrific curled attempt at goal but thankfully for the visitors it didn’t cross the line for a Fylde fourth.
Tom Greaves set about grabbing a consolation goal for FC United and his shot fizzed wide of the target before Sam Finley had a shot blocked and cleared. FC went down to nine men as their Captain Liam Brownhill hobbled off injured after they had made all of their substitutions.
The fourth goal was added when Danny Rowe headed the ball at goal and it took a deflection to loop over the substitute goalkeeper Lynch in the FCUM goal just to put extra gloss on the score. Danny Lloyd tried to add a fifth late on with a speculative long range shot from a good thirty yards out but Lynch managed to tip the ball away from goal to spare his blushes.
A fantastic 4-0 victory for The Coasters who regained second place in the league table whilst also closing the gap on top of the table Solihull Moors to three points.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Whittle (78), Baker, Hannigan, Barnes ©, Charles (67), Finley, Blinkhorn (69), Hughes, Lloyd
Subs: Rowe (69), Uwin, Holmes (78), Wilson (69), Gibson
Goals: Finley (10), Baker (57), Charles (66).
FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Brownhill ©, Cheetham, Stott, Bayunu, Ashworth, Wolfenden (56), Fallon, Greaves, Cooke (77), Madeley (76).
Subs: Birch (76), Thurston, Daniels (77), Murray, Lynch (56)
Yellow: Daniels (90)
Red: Carnell (54)
Man of the Match: Dion Charles