AFC Fylde advanced to the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round with a hard fought 1-0 victory over former Football League side Stockport County at Kellamergh Park.
The only goal of the game came after thirty-three minutes through the ever improving Matty Hughes after he poked the ball past away keeper Hurst from 8 yards out. Stockport threw everything including their kitchen sink at Fylde in an effort to avoid defeat, and if it weren’t for an eighty-second minute handball from Micah Evans, Stockport County would have taken the game to a replay.
The game started well, with both sides starting with plenty of endeavour and purpose and Danny Lloyd was causing havoc down the left hand side early on. The first real attempt at goal of the game came from former Hatters midfielder Richie Baker, now playing for The Coasters. Lloyd won a free-kick, Baker took it from the left and fired the ball just wide of Hurst’s post.
Straight after, Matty Hughes fired a dangerous ball across the face of goal which was only narrowly missed by a diving Matt Blinkhorn looking to connect with the ball with his head.
The Coasters were trying to stamp their authority in the game in the opening fifteen minutes, and top scorer Dion Charles, who has had a fantastic week after being honoured with a new contact and an England C call up, fired straight at Hurst in the County goal. Charles then received the ball 12 yards out before firing straight at Hurst, before Garvin went even closer to opening the score for County as he forced a good save from Urwin in the Fylde goal.
Matty Hughes, who is leaving no stone unturned for The Coasters as he looks to nail down a regular first team place, produced some excellent skill to beat a number of men before winning a corner. County cleared downfield and left-back Alex Whittle made a great last ditch tackle to deny Hazeldene, before Sam Finley went back up the other end and fired just wide.
Five minutes later, The Coasters took the lead through a player who has made a big impression recently. It was Matty Hughes who fired The Coasters into a thirty-third minute lead after being played through by Dion Charles, and The Coasters were a goal up and good value for their lead.
Charles was nearly at it again just three minutes later after he hit a dipping volley from twenty yards out which went just over Hurst’s bar, fortunately for him, as Charles had the County beaten all ends up. In truth, Stockport came into the game more after Fylde scored the opener but their best effort before half-time was when Stockport’s most lively player, Joe Garvin hit a thirty-yard effort harmlessly over the bar and the Coasters went in at the break 1-0 up.
The hatters were in real limbo at half-time, facing the prospect of not being in the FA Cup 3rd QR for the first time in their history and Sefton Gonzales was brought on to replace Max Hazeldene. Six minutes into the second half, Gonzales went through on goal but couldn’t get round the defender before Charles went down the other end of the field for The Coasters and firing way over the bar.
Summer signing Sam Finley did well to work a good opening in the County penalty area but couldn’t force a save out of Hurst as the former’s shot went just wide of the far post. Down the other end, the returning Hamilton found an opening but his weak shot was straight at Coasters keeper Urwin.
Sean O’Halloran was a menace all game in the Coasters penalty area as he tried to bring County on level terms, but his sixty-third minute header went just wide. A couple of minutes later, O’Hanlan was at it again but this time, his header was straight at Urwin.
One of Stockport’s better chances of the game came in the second half when Lewis Montrose got a far post flick on the ball and he glanced his header just past the post. It was a good chance for Stockport and with ten minutes to go, the home side were put under the kosh by the resilient Stockport County side looking to draw level.
The away side finally managed to get the ball past Urwin and into the back of the net through substitute Micah Evans, but the referee ruled out the goal as he deemed Evans to have handled the ball into the net, much to the dismay of Stockport’s away following.
Stockport managed to muster seventeen corners in the game, and it was one of their final ones that produced an astonishing save from debutant Urwin in the Fylde goal. O’Hanlon thought he had scored from his header with just a couple of minutes to go, but Urwin clawed the ball to safety.
The away side tried their utmost to get back into the game, but The Coasters held on to record their first ever victory over Stockport County and Fylde now advance to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
Substitute Abdullai Baggie was sent off after the final whistle for foul & abusive language to add insult to injury for the visitors.
AFC Fylde (4-2-3-1): Urwin, C. Hughes, Whittle, Baker, Hannigan, Barnes ©, Charles, Finley, Blinkhorn (75), M. Hughes (86), Lloyd (74)
Subs not used: Rowe (74), Hinchliffe, Wilson (86), Holmes, Sumner, Collins (75), Versallo
Goal: M. Hughes (33)
Stockport (4-4-2): Hurst, Ellison, Roberts, Thornley, O’Hanlan, Hamilton (67), Garvin (53), Montrose, Odejayi, Hazeldine (46), Kirby
Subs not used: Gonzales (46), Ormson, Connolly, Baggie (67), Morton, Evans (53).
Shots on target: AFC Fylde 4 Stockport 2
Shots off: 5,5
Yellow: 0,1 (Evans, 82)
Red: 0, 1 (Baggie, Foul & Abusive Language (after game))
Match rating: 4/5
Star Man: Matt Urwin (AFC Fylde)