The Coasters recorded their second successive pre-season win in as many matches, this time against League One Rochdale courtesy of a sixty-eighth minute Richie Allen penalty.
The only goal of the game came from the ever reliable Richie Allen as he calmly struck away his penalty with aplomb, sending Rochdale’s keeper Diba the wrong way in the process after Danny Lloyd was adjudged to have been fouled.
The game itself was a tough test for Fylde as they faced another Football League side and were again victorious which will give them plenty of encouragement going into the next game against Airbus UK from Wales next Saturday.
The first attempt of the game fell to Fylde’s Richie Allen as he cut inside and shot towards Lillis’ goal but it was comfortable for the Rochdale stopper. Just after, Peter Vincenti found himself in space in the Coasters penalty area as he volleyed at goal but was denied by a courageous block from left back Adam Sumner as he threw himself at the ball as it was struck.
Joe Bunney had the ball in the back of the net for Rochdale after just five minutes when they thought they had broken the offside trap to take an early lead, but the offside flag went up late to deny Dale taking the lead. An error from Coasters keeper Ben Hinchliffe nearly allowed Ian Henderson to capitalise and give Rochdale the lead as his poor clearance fell to the Rochdale attacker but his effort went just over the bar.
Fylde new boy Matty Hughes showed plenty of endeavour and industry as he did in the previous game and he linked up well with Matty Blinkhorn up front in the first half as The Coasters looked to break down a strong Rochdale defence. Richie Baker did extremely well to win the ball back for the home side in the opposition half and then to win a free-kick in a fantastic position, from which Trialist B headed just wide of the far post in what was the best chance for The Coasters in the opening half an hour. Down the other end, Joe Bunney tried a thirty yard effort from a central position but the ever impressive Ben Hinchliffe was more than equal to it.
It took thirty-six minutes for The Coasters to force keeper Josh Lillis into a save as Matty Hughes was set free by Matt Blinkhorn. Hughes beat three Rochdale defenders before firing a shot towards the bottom right corner of the goal but thankfully for Dale, Lillis was there to keep the score 0-0. Joe Rafferty tried his luck from around thirty yards out just before the break but his effort went harmlessly wide, before an Adam Sumner cross found the head of Matty Hughes at the far post for Fylde but Hughes’ header cleared the bar.
Whilst the first half provided no goals, it was entertaining enough but the second half was a totally different spectacle as Rochdale changed their entire team at the break as they brought on the youngsters.
The first real chance of the second half fell to Richie Baker as he hit a rasper towards goal from around thirty yards out but his effort found Row Z and shortly after, sub Richie Allen tried to chip Dale’s sub keeper Diba but his attempt was comfortable for the young goalkeeper. Baker nearly found the opening goal after fifty-eight minutes but he couldn’t control Caspar Hughes’ cross to find the back of the net. Dion Charles, also on as a half-time sub, nearly scored the opener but his powerful strike at goal flew just over the bar.
The ever improving Dion Charles managed to find some space on the edge of the box on the sixty-fifth minute but his left foot shot at goal was well held by Diba in the Rochdale goal. The Coasters were improving and were the better side after the break, unlucky not to have taken the lead at some point.
Then came the opening goal on sixty-eight minutes and it came through Richie Allen from the penalty spot as Danny Lloyd was held back by a Rochdale defender in the box. Allen stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to give The Coasters the lead. Dion Charles then went close to adding a second a couple of minutes later when he did well to break clear of the Rochdale defence but his tame shot was straight at Diba.
The away side pushed to try to get back into the game, and a well struck Michael Rose free kick from twenty-five yards went just wide of Hinchliffe’s goal, before sub Lewis Alessandra broke free for Dale but Tom Hannigan was across to cover and clear. James Hooper then went ever closer to scoring but his glancing header from a couple of yards out wasn’t on target when it was probably easier to score.
A very strong break away from Danny Lloyd nearly resulted in a second for The Coasters as he raced downfield before finding Danny Rowe in the box unmarked, but Rowe couldn’t find a shot and the ball was eventually cleared. Lloyd had a chance to make to two with the last kick of the game but his thirty yard free-kick was well over the bar.
In truth, it was very much a pre-season game with a low tempo but The Coasters came out on top against a second League One side in the space of four days.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes (72), Sumner (Gregory), Collins, Hannigan, Trialist A (75), Trialist B (45), Baker, Blinkhorn (61), Hughes (45), Lloyd
Subs: Allen (45), Trialist C, Rowe (61), Charles (45), Mullen (75), Gregory (72), Trialist D (69)
Goal: Allen (68)
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Tanser, Lund, Barry-Murphy, Allen, Vincenti, Noble-Lazarus, Andrew, Henderson, Bunney (All off 45)
Subs: Diba, Cannon, Rose, Lancashire, Kennedy, Camps, McDermott, Hooper, Hasler-Cregg, Alessandra, Bell (All on 45)
H/T – 0-0
Man of the Match: Dom Collins
Pictures courtesy of Rochdale FC