AFC Fylde Women returned to winning ways last Sunday in an entertaining 2-1 victory over Stoke City FC Women in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.

Goals from Faye McCoy and Amy Hughes sent the Coasters on their way to a deserved win at Kellamergh Park in their final home game of the season. 

Kim Turner and Danielle Young’s side turned in a professional performance to strengthen their position in third in the table and close the gap to second-placed Derby County FC Women.

Having suffered back-to-back league defeats, the Coasters responded in style and controlled much of the play, despite a spirited fightback from the Potters in the second half. 

Last time out, the Coasters were unlucky to come out on the losing side in a 2-0 reverse to Derby County at Kellamergh Park, while Stoke City headed into the game on the back of an emphatic 4-2 win over Loughborough Lightning. 

Fylde made one change to the starting line-up with Olivia Fuller slotting into the defence. 

In the opening period, Hannah Fryer tested visiting keeper Lizzie Craven with a rasping drive before Jodie Redgrave fired narrowly over from Laura Merrin’s pinpoint cross. 

The hosts were then awarded a penalty kick when Hughes went on a marauding run before being tripped inside the area. McCoy coolly stepped up to send Craven the wrong way and open the scoring in the 26th minute. 

Just past the half-hour mark, the Potters created a meaningful chance when Lizzie Steele raced clear on the left before cutting inside and drilling a shot that drew a fine save from Fylde keeper Ellie Etheridge. Minutes later, Steele found space on the right and delivered a cross that was well gathered by Etheridge at her near post. 

In first-half stoppage time, the Coasters doubled their lead when Hughes beat the offside trap, rounded Craven and rolled the ball into the empty net. Hughes’s clinical finish gave the hosts a two-goal cushion going into the break. 

Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-0 Stoke City FC Women 

At the beginning of the second half, Hughes was almost through on goal again, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle by Potters captain Meg Bowyer. In the 51st minute, Stoke City grabbed a goal back when Nuala Miszkiel pounced on a loose ball in the box and struck a sublime volley into the top corner to make it 2-1. 

With the visitors clearly rejuvenated, the Coasters had to defend resolutely to preserve their lead. In the 62nd minute, Steele raced through and hit an early shot that was confidently held by Etheridge in the Fylde goal. 

As the second half wore on, it was the Coasters who almost added another goal when substitute Sasha Rowe weaved through the Potters defence and flashed a shot inches wide of the post. With the final action of the game, Jess Holbrook forced a reflex save from Craven, who somehow diverted Holbrook’s goalbound effort over the bar. 

The Coasters will hope to finish the season strongly with two away fixtures to conclude what has been an incredible campaign. 

Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-1 Stoke City FC Women 

Next up, the Coasters will make the trip over the Pennines to face Sheffield FC Women on Sunday 17th April in their penultimate fixture of the season. The Easter Sunday match will be played at the Tuffnells Home of Football Stadium, with kick-off at 2.00 pm. 

AFC Fylde Women: Etheridge, Forster, Fuller, Carroll, Young (63’ Taylor), Holbrook, Merrin (60’ Rowe), Redgrave, Fryer, Hughes (78’ Pottinger), McCoy (86’ Whitaker) 

Unused substitute: Hunter 

Report by Scott Jones