AFC Fylde Development Squad secured the Lancashire League Title with a 1-0 win away at Eccleshill United on Friday Night. Despite dominating the game throughout the difference proved to be a 60th Minute Ben Duffield Penalty.
The team went in to the game knowing a draw would have been enough but made absolutely sure with the win. The team were without several regulars as Ryan Charnley, Joey Mullen and Jake Gregory rested ahead of Saturday’s First Team fixture and several were unavailable due to work, injuries and Lancashire call ups. This provided opportunities for one or two new faces as Joe Darnell was included from The Fylde Youth Side and Cane Pickering made is full debut at Right Back after a solid season for the Fylde Academy.
Development Squad Manager Andy Pilkington was naturally delighted. “The lads fully deserve their success. They have worked very hard all season and it’s great to see their efforts rewarded. We took the decision at the start of the season to concentrate our efforts on the young lads and have gone through the season with a squad containing mostly U18s. We realised early on that we needed a few older lads in and around the squad as well and it has worked out really well.
“We hade a stuttering start to the season and lost three in a row in September but responded really well and haven’t lost a league game since, every credit to the lads!
“Winning the league is great, and I’m pleased the boys have something to show for their efforts this season. However, the real success has been the development of the lads and the progression as well. We have had Ryan Charnley, Jake Gregory and Joey Mullen progress to become regulars in the first team squad whilst Aaron Fleming and Ben Duffield have made first team appearances also. Added to that we have had many players represent Lancashire FA who are now National Champions and Lancashire SFA who have done well also. So overall it’s been a successful season for us and one we have really enjoyed.”
The Development Squad will be presented the Lancashire League Trophy at their final game of the season against likely runners up, Staylbridge Celtic, at Kellamergh Park on Tuesday 6th May (7:45ko). It would be great to see as many Coasters fans at the game as possible to join in with the celebrations!