AFC Fylde endured a night to forget as they crashed out of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at the hands of Ashton Athletic.

Two goals from visiting striker Daniel Smith capped a miserable evening for Dave Challinor’s side against lower league opposition.

Sam Finley and Josh Langley both had decent chances for the Coasters, but Ashton were deserving of their place in the third round.

Manager Challinor made several changes to the side that faced Millwall at the weekend with full debuts for James Hardy, James Sloane and Vita Mbdokele.  

There was also a welcome return to the side for Langley and Brad Barnes, who have missed much of the season through injury.

It was youngster Hardy who had the first real opportunity of the match when he was played in by Sloane, but his low crisp effort was straight at Martin Pearson in the Ashton goal.

The opening exchanges were a cagey affair with neither side managing to get a foot on the ball. The visitors battled hard, but struggled to make any meaningful break through.

The hosts almost opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Danny Lloyd’s fizzing cross was met by Finley six yards from goal, but his instinctive finish was inches wide.

Ashton hit back with a golden opportunity of their own moments later when Smith’s sublime free-kick from 20 yards out crashed back off the crossbar, much to the relief of the helpless Matt Urwin.

After a lull in play, Ashton took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time, Smith cutting in from the right unchallenged and slotting the ball underneath Urwin.

Langley had the last chance of the half when he headed narrowly over from a corner.

Fylde opened the second-half brightly and only a fine save from Pearson prevented Sloane from levelling the score.

The introduction of full-back Casper Hughes breathed new life into the contest and his teasing cross was just missed by Lloyd at the far post on 55 minutes.

Ten minutes later and the Coasters should have drawn level. After a melee in the box from a corner, the ball was fired across goal, but Langley headed over with the open goal at his mercy.

Fylde had the ball in the back on 78 minutes when Dylan Versallo latched onto the end of Joey Mullen’s cross from the right, but the linesman’s flag was up, summing up the mood of an ever-increasingly frustrated crowd.

And their frustration was complete on 83 minutes when Ashton doubled the lead, scorer of the first Smith tucking home his second after Urwin had spilled.

AFC Fylde: Urwin, Mbdokele, Sumner, Langley, Mullen, Barnes (C. Hughes 46), Versallo, Finley, Sloane (Charles 60), Hardy (Wilson 31), Lloyd.

Subs not used: Hinchliffe, Whittle.

Ashton Athletic: Pearson, Cringle, Howard, Rowlands, Holden, Watson, Regan, Kay (Rawlinson 74), Brownhill (Gilchrist 78), Smith, Midgley (Livingston 63).

Subs not used: Bailey, Foulds.