AFC Fylde climbed into second place in the National League North table after a superb comeback victory against Alfreton Town.

The home side started brightly and took the lead through Dan Bradley, but second-half goals from substitute James Hardy and Matty Hughes sealed a well-deserved three points.  

Dave Challinor made just one change from the side that beat Hednesford Town at the weekend with Matt Blinkhorn replacing the injured Danny Lloyd in attack.

Alfreton had the first shot on target within the first minute when Joe Ironside found space, but his tame effort was comfortable for Ben Hinchliffe.

Dan Bradley was next to try his luck for the hosts and his effort was a little more testing, Hinchliffe forced to turn the ball over for a corner.

Moments later and Alfreton were ahead. Bradley strike seconds earlier proved a sighter and he made no mistake second time around, capitalising on a misplaced pass from Josh Langley and firing home with aplomb.

Fylde’s first chance of note came on the 15 minute mark when Sam Finley was hacked down 30 yards from goal, however Danny Rowe dragged the resultant free-kick wide of goal.

Alfreton had a dangerous free-kick of their own in a similar position 10 minutes later, but Hinchliffe was equal to Sam Jones’ strike.

The visitors were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty after half an hour when Dion Charles was body-checked in the area, but the referee waved away his appeals.

Fylde were agonisingly close to finding a leveller on the stroke of half-time when Blinkhorn broke through, but he was thwarted by former Hull City stopper Matt Duke. Sam Finley fired a vicious strike into a crowd from the resulting corner and it was cleared to safety.

Just five minutes into the second period and the Coasters had another strong claim for a penalty when Hughes was tripped in the box, but the referee gave the same response as on the first occasion.

Finley wasted a glorious chance a minute later when Rowe burst through on goal and squared for the midfielder to sweep his shot well over the bar.

As in the first half, Fylde were enjoying the lion’s share of the ball, but struggling to make a real break-through or test substitute goalkeeper Nick Draper, who replaced Duke at the break.

Instead it was Alfreton who fashioned the next chance when the ball fell kindly to Ironside six yards out, but his low strike was blocked on the line.

The equaliser eventually arrived on 68 minutes when the ever-dangerous Hughes raced and the Alfreton defence before laying the ball off for half-time substitute Hardy to fire into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.

The goal sparked the visitors into life and they looked the most likely to nick a winner. However, the home side had other ideas and Brad McGowan headed inches wide from a corner five minutes after the goal.

The comeback was almost complete moments later when Caspar Hughes latched on to Charles’ cross, but he rushed his effort and launched the ball over.

No sooner was the ball back in play and the Coasters got a deserved second goal. Hardy played in Hughes, who raced away from the defence before giving the keeper the eyes and calmly slotting home.  

Striker Rowe tried to get in on the action, but his fierce drive five minutes from time was narrowly wide of Draper’s post. The front man was closer still a minute later when his effort from a tight angle rolled along the goalline and clear.

A fantastic second-half performance from the Coasters ahead of the weekend’s FA Trophy clash with Skelmersdale United.


Alfreton Town: Duke (Draper 46), Allan, Galinski, McGowan, Heaton, Bradley (Thanoj 71), Meikle, Jackson, Jordan, Jones (Johnston 71), Ironside.

Subs not used: Wilson, Smith.

Goal: Bradley 6

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Langley, Roscoe, Crainey, Baker, Finley, M. Hughes, Charles (Collins 90), Rowe, Blinkhorn (Hardy 46).

Subs not used: Urwin, Sumner, Kay.

Goals: Hardy 68, Hughes 78


Referee: Michael D’aguilar

Attendance: 433