AFC Fylde returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Brackley Town in the Vanarama National League North after goals from Nick Haughton & Siya Ligendza.
It took until the 41st minute for the Coasters to open the scoring after creating numerous chances in the opening 40 minutes, and it was a Haughton header that got the ball rolling before two more goals followed in the second 45.
An inspired AFC Fylde came out for the second half with all focus on getting a second as Haughton delivered once again, this time lashing into the roof of the net.
There’s that saying that you should leave the best until last, which Ligendza intended on doing.
After Joe Rowley’s flicked header into space, Ligendza picked the ball up and burst forward with five shirts around him before jinxing his way into the area and slotting into the bottom corner to make sure of the points.
Adam Murray made four changes from the midweek defeat to Blyth Spartans, with Connor Barrett, Danny Whitehead, Siya Ligendza and captain Alex Whitmore replacing Emeka Obi, Dan Pike, Dan Malone & Bartosz Cybulski.
Once again, the Coasters started brightly. After Siya Ligendza had a half chance that deflected into the gloves of Danny Lewis, Joe Rowley almost put his side ahead.
Nick Haughton picked out the clever run of Joe Rowley from wide with a free-kick in behind the Brackley backline, and after taking one touch, he lifted inches over the bar and over the on-rushing Lewis.
It was all Fylde after 16 minutes, which continued to be the case when after evaluating his options to his left and right, Danny Whitehead attempted an effort from around 25 yards out and stung the palms of Lewis down to his right.
Everyone who watches the Coasters knows that Andy Taylor’s set-pieces normally prove fruitful, with Haughton this time playing one around the corner of the Brackley defence to an unmarked Rowley, whose first-time effort at goal was cleared off the line.
Brackley did have an unlikely opportunity, especially after an awkward ball somehow bounced around the Fylde box and fell to Callum Stead, but he struck over from 12 yards.
Fylde did get their reward after creating many chances when Connor Barrett slipped Harry Davis in down the line for him to hang a cross into the six-yard box and towards Haughton, who rose and headed in for the opener.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde 1-0 Brackley Town
As the referee sounded the whistle for the start of the second 45, Fylde and Haughton had a spring in their step following the number 10’s first goal minutes before the break.
Much to Adam Murray’s delight in the dugout, that spring brought the Coasters their second of the afternoon.
Some superb hold-up play from Ligendza brought Barrett into play down the right for him to set Haughton on the edge of the area, who lashed into the roof of the net.
The best goal of the afternoon was yet to follow, and that was after Haughton’s second of the game.
After Joe Rowley’s flicked header away from goal, Ligendza picked the ball up halfway in his own half and burst forward under pressure from around five Brackley shirts.
A few stop-starts later, Ligendza was up the other end, surrounded by the same five shirts, but that didn’t matter, with Ligendza slotting into the bottom corner.
Brackley did continue to push, though, despite being three goals down, and it was substitute James Armson who was denied not once but twice. First, Danny Philliskirk slid in and blocked a powerful effort on the line before Chris Neal palmed his next strike away moments later.
Although Fylde were three goals to the good, they were going for blood – however, they were denied brilliantly by Lewis again in the Brackley goal on three occasions in quick succession.
Luke Charman was first kept out at point-blank range by Lewis’ right glove before Delfouneso and Rowley tried their luck, only to be kept out again by the shot-stopper.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde 3-0 Brackley Town
AFC Fylde: Neal, Whitmore, Davis, Bird; Barrett, Conlan (82’ Cranston); Philliskirk, Whitehead; Haughton (79’ Delfouneso), Rowley; Ligendza (63’ Charman).
Unused subs: Obi, Cybulski.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Bates, Calder, Preston, Richards (68’ Armson); Walker Murombedzi; Smart, Woods; Stead, Robinson (56’ Amantchi).
Unused Subs: Cullinane-Liburd, Rooney, Matwasa.