The Coasters slipped to their first defeat of 2023 against Hereford FC when the two sides met at Mill Farm in the Vanarama National League North.

Hereford made a good start to the game when Ryan McLean capitalised on a mistake in the Coasters backline to run and slot into an empty net.

Matching the visitors’ start to the first half, but without the goal in the second half, soon ended for the Coasters when Aaron Amadi-Holloway flicked in from a free-kick before Tyrone Barnett put the Bulls out of sight.

There was slight hope as the 90-minute mark approached when Joe Rowley smashed home to pull a goal back, but it was too little too late as the referee brought play to an end moments later.

Head Coach Adam Murray made four changes to his side from the 2-0 win at Peterborough Sports, with Harvey Gregson, Harry Davis, Luke Conlan and Luke Charman replacing Emeka Obi, Connor Barrett, Danny Philliskirk and Jordan Cranston.

Coming off the back of a superb run of form and unbeaten in 2023, it was a start that the Coasters didn’t envisage when a long ball upfield from Hereford wasn’t dealt with properly by the Fylde backline, leaving Ryan McLean to nip in and finish into an open net.

It wasn’t like the Coasters to have a start slow, but they improved as the clock ticked down, and that allowed Luke Conlan & Tom Walker to combine on the left for the latter to switch out to Harvey Gregson for a shot at goal, which Aaron Amadi-Holloway charged down and blocked.

Chances started to present themselves more and more, and after Danny Whitehead won the ball back in the final third, he allowed Luke Charman to take over and strike at goal but wide of the mark.

Although Hereford had the lead, the game was pretty even with the Coasters enjoying most of the possession.

However, from a throw on the right, Thierry Latty-Fairweather managed to wriggle through several Coasters shirts and squeeze the ball in at the near post, though he was denied by the on-rushing Chris Neal.

An end-to-end battle proved to be the case just before the break when Danny Whitehead had a rasping effort from inside the box blocked for a corner by McLean before Pierce Bird was denied from the resulting corner.

That was a minute before Jack Holmes was kept out by Neal diving towards the bottom corner to prevent the visitors from going further ahead.

Half-Time: AFC Fylde 0-1 Hereford FC   

With work to do in the second half, Fylde almost drew level after the restart. Following Tyrone Barnett’s wayward effort, Charman won a free-kick on the right to give Tom Walker the chance to leather the ball towards the near post and force Dino Visser into scrambling across his line to bat away.

Despite the early chance for Adam Murray’s side, Hereford extended their lead further when a free-kick from the left found an unmarked Amadi-Holloway, who flicked at goal and into the bottom corner.

Out of nowhere, the visitors quickly came out of the blocks and added to the scoreline through Barnett when he skipped past several white shirts on the edge of the area and found the top corner of the net.

The Coasters kept going despite the difference in scoreline, and Conlan was the one who fancied his chances in front of goal, rasping a strike towards the top corner, which Visser spilt but collected at the second time of asking.

It seemed to be too little too late, but there was a slight glimmer of hope for the Coasters when a loose ball fell the way of Rowley, who hammered home to pull a goal back.

Full-Time: AFC Fylde 1-3 Hereford FC  

AFC Fylde: Neal, Davis, Whitmore, Bird, Conlan, Gregson, Malone, Whitehead, Charman, Walker, Faal (70’ Faal).

Unused subs: Obi, Hatfield.

Hereford FC: Visser, Hodgkiss, McLean, Lloyd (69’ Pinchard), Amadi-Holloway, Thompson-Sommers, Hanson, Pendley, Barnett (81’ Oppong), Holmes, Latty-Fairweather (69’ Andoh).

Unused Subs: Klukowski, Campbell.