AFC Fylde closed the gap on the top spot in the National League North table to just four points after a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Hednesford Town.
Matty Hughes netted the only goal of the game inside the opening ten minutes of the match on a successful afternoon for the Coasters.
New signing Stephen Crainey was thrown straight in to the starting line-up just hours after completing his move to the club.
Richie Baker, sporting a rather fetching protective face mask, returned in midfield to captain the side, whilst Danny Lloyd kept his place following his man-of-the-match performance last time out at Warrington Town.
The match kicked off in lively fashion, but the only opportunities for either side in the opening minutes were from distance and well off target.
Lloyd’s afternoon was cut short after just eight minutes when he was forced off following a heavy challenge.
However, just moments later and the visitors were ahead. Substitute Alex Whittle played in Matty Hughes on the left hand side of the box and he in turn cut inside and fired low into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Hednesford looked to hit back and only a crucial clearance from Danny Rowe prevented the hosts from scoring on 20 minutes after a fantastic free-kick into the box.
The hosts went closer still on 26 minutes when striker Andy Todd poked the ball inches wide, however the linesman’s flag was already raised.
Hednesford continued to push as Adam Thomas blazed over on 36 minutes, before Sam Finley was close for Fylde with an ambitious effort that was narrowly over the bar.
Flyde created the first chance of the second half after just two minutes when the ball fell kindly to Dion Charles in the box, but his powerful effort was deflected over the bar for a corner.
The hosts went close three minutes later when Matt Regan nodded the ball the wrong side of the post from a corner.
The visitors looked to have doubled their advantage, but the fantastic goal was ruled out for offside. Rowe played the ball into the feet of Finley, who flicked the ball on to Charles to finish with aplomb, however his celebrations were cut short by the linesman.
Crainey was looking assured on his debut, keeping Hednesford at bay as they searched for an equaliser. The Coasters’ resolve was tested as the half wore on, but there was proving no way through.
The Coasters spurned a glorious chance to put the match to bed on 68 minutes when Whittle raced through on goal, but his effort from the left of the box was high and wide.
The match was flowing end-to-end, but neither side could create any chances of real quality in blustery conditions on a less than ideal playing surface.
Hednesford fashioned their best chance of the afternoon 15 minutes from time when Todd’s header looked to be finding the top corner, however Ben Hinchliffe was equal to his effort and pulled off a sensational fingertip save.
The hosts were beginning to look dangerous and had the ball in the back of the net a moment later, but the linesman came to the Coasters’ rescue to rule out Ahmed Obeng’s tap in.
Kyle Perry was next to test Hinchliffe with a looping header and again the Fylde keeper pulled off a wonderful stop to deny the midfielder.
With two minutes to go and the hosts really should have been level. Obeng danced his way through before firing agonisingly wide when well placed.
The Coasters stood firm and held out for a creditable victory on an afternoon where teams at the top of the league dropped points.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Regan, Bailey (c), T. Williams, Digie (Perry 76), S. Williams, Thomas, Obeng, Todd, Ennis (Johnson 67) .
Subs not used: Dyer, James, Trainer.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Langley, Roscoe, Crainey, Baker (c), Finley, M. Hughes, Charles, Lloyd (Whittle 8 (Collins 78)), Rowe.
Subs not used: Urwin, Hardy, Kay.
Goal: M. Hughes (9)
Referee: S Copeland.