AFC Fylde went four points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference North after a 3-0 win at Tamworth on a bitterly cold Tuesday night.
The Coasters made three changes ahead of the trip, with Danny Lloyd,Joe Booth and Luke Denson coming in for Danny Rowe,Michael Potts and Liam Tomsett in a 4-3-3 formation.
The game started slowly and neither side could really stamp their authority on it. Tamworth defender David Hibbert was replaced on 9 minutes due to an apparent head injury following a collision with Josh Langley. Luke Denson tried a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque free kick from 35 yards which forced a save from Tamworth keeper James Belshaw. On 23 minutes the deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion when Richie Allen picked up the ball in the Tamworth box after a long goal kick and passed it back to Danny Lloyd who struck a sweet shot into the far top right corner of the goal from the edge of the box. The goal was extra special for Lloyd who used to play for The Lambs.
Fylde started to take control of the game and caused Tamworth more problems before the break. Once again the danger man Lloyd put in a good cross which was headed towards goal by Richie Allen but the Belshaw managed to keep it out. Tamworth did have one good chance in the first half as good build up play result in captain Paul Green hitting a dipping volley which didn’t trouble keeper Ben Hinchcliffe.
After the break Tamworth started brightly but it was Fylde who had the first good chance as Caspar Hughes had two shots blocked by a Tamworth defender after Richie Allen had squared it to him, leaving Belshaw stranded. It wasn’t long before Fylde doubled their lead.
The Tamworth defence did little to stop Michael Barnes outswinging cross which was met beautifully by Joe Booth to head into the far left corner of the goal past the helpless keeper. Two quickly became three as another long goal kick from Hinchcliffe caused trouble for the Tamworth defence and the ball bounced over both centre backs and was met by Michael Barnes who flicked the ball over the keeper and headed into an empty goal.
The Coasters settled down in the last 25 minutes and Tamworth rarely caused the Coasters’ defence any problems. Dave Challinor made three substitutions late on with Liam Tomsett replacing Joe Booth and Richie Allen coming off for Matt Blinkhorn to make his first appearance since the famous play-off final victory over Ashton United in May, which was well received by the travelling Fylde supporters.
With five minutes to go Lloyd broke free again and fired a shot on goal which was well saved by Belshaw. Dion Charles came on for Michael Barnes on 85 minutes.
After the game manager Dave Challinor said “It couldnt have gone much better for us in the fact that we’ve come and put in a professional away performance, won the game and managed to rest a few tired bodies. In the first half there wasn’t much between the teams at all and that’s what a lot of games in this division are like. We went infront from a wonder strike from Lloydy. In the second half we threw quick fire punches and the game sort of went dead and then its a case of seeing the game out as best you can and I thought we did that brilliantly”.
In reaction to Danny Lloyd’s wonder goal Challinor said “I was pretty much stunned, he’s been kept out of the side by the performances of Richie Allen and Michael Barnes, we just felt today Rowe had looked a bit tired as he hasn’t played a lot of football in the last few years and that goal would have been worthy of winning any game of football.”
“Defensively we’ve been brilliant, it’s all well and good people talking about us being free scoring but to only have conceded seven goals is brilliant and when you consider that three of them were in a crazy five minute spell at Stalybridge it’s even more impressive. We work hard and everyone has roles to do, collectively we score as a team and we defend as a team and everyone has to dig in at times.”
We’ll look after the lads for the Buxton game, we’ve played a lot of football and we’ve demanded a lot of them in training. We spoke before the game that this is a massive opportunity, we want to progress as far as we can whether it’s to the next round or whether it’s beyond that but we know Buxton are on a good run and are top of the Evo Stik Premier League and we need to put in a real shift if we’re to get a positive result from the game.
The Coasters have an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round tie with Buxton at Kellamergh Park on Saturday. Kick-Off is at 3pm.
TAMWORTH: Belshaw,Smith,Hibbert (Trainor 9),James,Preston,Purdie,Green (C),Adams (Clarke 69),Jackson,Mettam,Daniels (Taylor 64). Subs not used: Gill,Vidal
AFC FYLDE: Hinchcliffe,Denson,Sumner,Langley,Hannigan,B.Barnes (C),Booth (Tomsett 74),Hughes,Lloyd,M.Barnes (Charles 85),Allen (Blinkhorn 74). Subs not used: Rowe,Potts
Goals: Lloyd 23, Booth 64, M.Barnes 66
MOM: Danny Lloyd