Jim Bentley, who was back in the dugout following the postponement of his surgery, made three changes to the side that defeated Kettering Town in Wednesday’s five-goal thriller. The new man Jack Sampson was among those to come in to make his first start in a Coasters shirt, along with Kurt Willoughby and the young Blackpool-loanee, Nathan Shaw. Farsley Celtic were the third team to visit Mill Farm in just six days.
The visitors got off to an energetic start when Chris Neal was forced into a smart save down low to his right to deny James Spencer from close range.
The Coasters thought they had taken the lead in the 8th minute when Kurt Willoughby lifted the ball over the on-rushing keeper at the end of a fast-flowing move. Unfortunately, the linesman had his flag up for offside.
Several minutes later, Fylde came close again with a Danny Philliskirk shot which was saved by Steve Drench in the Farsley goal. The ball might’ve fallen nicely for a rebound, but the linesman had his flag up once again.
Fylde continued to press for the breakthrough, and it was new-signing, Jack Sampson who saw his header saved well by the Celt Army keeper.
As we approached the half hour mark the hosts had the ball in the net again. Kurt Willoughby got in behind the opposition defence, this time from a Jack Sampson flick-on, but once again the assistant had his flag up before Willoughby put the ball beyond the on-rushing keeper.
The Coasters had one final opportunity to take the lead in additional time at the end of the first period, when a long ball found its way to Kurt Willoughby at the far post. It appeared that Willoughby was about to convert before the keeper intervened impressively to keep the scoreline level at the break.
HT: AFC Fylde 0-0 Farsley Celtic
The second period started in a lively fashion, with both sides receiving a booking each early on as the game got a little heated.
The first chance of the second period fell to Jack Sampson who headed a deflected Nathan Shaw cross against the crossbar before realising that, once again, the assistant had his flag up.
The Coasters then took a deserved lead as Shaw managed to bring a loose ball down in the Farsley area, before finishing confidently to net his first goal in a Coasters jersey.
Almost immediately after The Coasters got their noses in front, Farsley almost equalised. A looping corner swirled in the Fylde Coast wind, before landing on the head of Tom Allan. Allan managed to divert the ball goal wards, only to see it clatter against the Fylde post. This was the closest that the visitors had come to beating Chris Neal all afternoon.
Farsley continued to push for an equaliser as we moved into the final 15 minutes, and they did appear to have an opening when James Spencer wriggled away from Alex Whitmore to get a shot off, before the defender recovered to block bravely.
Despite the attacking efforts of the visitors, it was Fylde that looked more likely to score. The hosts had the chance to double their lead as Jack Sampson broke the offside trap on the halfway line. Unfortunately for him, the Farsley defence caught up to extinguish the danger before he could get a shot away.
Another chance followed as the two second-half substitutes combined. Junior Mondal played the ball through to Ben Tollitt who galloped beyond the last ditch tackle of a defender and tried to slide the ball beyond the keeper. Drench got down to his right well to turn the ball behind for a Fylde corner.
Tollitt did eventually manage to double the lead shortly after. The former Macclesfield Town winger was initially hauled down on the edge of the area to win a free-kick in a dangerous position. The winger dusted himself down and struck a powerful drive into the bottom corner to kill all hopes of a Farsley comeback.
The visitors threw everybody forwarded in the closing stages, desperately trying to half the deficit, but all of their efforts were in vain. The referee blew the final whistle to mark the continuation of Fylde’s tremendous winning start to the 20/21 campaign.
FT: AFC Fylde 2-0 Farsley Celtic