The Coasters stormed to a 5-2 victory over Brighouse Town to secure maximum points on a wet and blustery afternoon at Kellamergh Park.

Fylde blew away their opponents with goals from Faye McCoy, Amy Hughes (x2) and Laura Merrin (x2) in an end-to-end contest. The win brings Fylde to within a point of pacesetters Wolves in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division. 

Prior to kick-off, the heavens opened, and the players quickly had to adapt to the difficult conditions during a persistent heavy downpour. The Coasters raced into the lead with barely a minute on the clock thanks to a towering back-post header by McCoy to convert a right-sided cross from Emily Hollinshead. It was a blistering start for the hosts who pressed forward and caused their West Yorkshire opponents all sorts of problems.

In the 14th minute, Hughes doubled Fylde’s advantage with a sublime strike into the top right corner of the net from 20 yards out. Catching the Brighouse defence off guard, Hughes showed no hesitation as she smashed the ball past Imogen Maguire in the Brighouse goal. 

In the 16th minute, the visitors created their first meaningful chance of the game when Drew Greene capitalised on a loose ball inside the box and fired at goal, but her shot blazed over the crossbar. On their next attack, Brighouse got a goal back after some excellent play down the left. Ellie White drove into the box and slotted the ball past Etheridge at the near post. By doing so, Brighouse maintained their impressive record of scoring in every league game of the season so far.

However, Fylde did not take long to restore their two-goal cushion. McCoy worked some space down the centre and played in Hughes, who raced into the box, shifted to her right and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner to score her second of the afternoon. It was the perfect response after Brighouse had worked their way back into the game with a dangerous spell of attacking play.

Just before the half-hour mark, the Coasters made it four in spectacular fashion. Merrin drifted inside from the right-wing and bent in a superb long-range strike into the top left corner, leaving Brighouse shot-stopper Maguire with no chance. 

Minutes later, Hollinshead tried a speculative drive herself, but it flew high and wide. In the 40th minute, Fylde netted a fifth goal directly from Merrin’s free kick on the right. Brighouse keeper Maguire hastily scrambled back to her line but could not prevent the inswinging delivery from crossing the line at the back post.

Searching for an instant response, the visitors hit back with a rasping left-footed strike by Embley, but Fylde shot-stopper Ellie Etheridge got down low to repel her effort.

Half time: AFC Fylde Women 5-1 Brighouse Town AFC Women 

Brighouse pulled a goal back only a matter of seconds after the restart. Straight from the kick-off, Embley intercepted a short pass and charged down the right before pulling the ball across to Amy Woodruff to tap in from close range. The visitors were clearly determined to forge a way back into the contest. 

On the hour mark, Jess Holbrook created the next big chance when she collected Merrin’s cross and fired in a low shot that Maguire did well to parry away. Hollinshead then created space down the right and centred to McCoy on the six-yard line, but McCoy sliced her shot wide of the post. The hard-working Jodie Redgrave also mustered a chance for the Coasters as she turned on the edge of the box and fizzed a left-footed drive wide of the post. 

The visitors continued to pose a threat in attack, and striker Ellie White almost reduced the deficit when she volleyed narrowly wide from close range. Minutes later, White found space on the edge of the area and poked the ball towards the bottom corner, but Etheridge was equal to it. 

At the other end, McCoy came close to scoring herself when she turned expertly past two players and steered a shot on goal, but her strike was palmed away by Maguire. Having introduced several substitutions late on, Fylde had enough energy and composure to see out the game comfortably in the closing stages.

Full time: AFC Fylde Women 5-2 Brighouse Town AFC Women 

Next up, Fylde travel to the North East to take on Durham Cestria on Sunday 7 November in the First Round Proper of the FA Women’s National League Cup, with kick-off at 2.00 pm.

AFC Fylde Women team: Etheridge, Taylor (88′ Carroll), Forster, Fuller, Holbrook, Hollinshead (71′ Donoghue), Redgrave, Rowe (88′ Fryer), Merrin, Hughes (71′ Mortimer), McCoy (88′ Bartley)

Report by Scott Jones