On Sunday, AFC Fylde Women secured a comfortable 4-1 win against Alnwick Town Ladies FC in the First Round Proper of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
The Coasters began their adventure in this season’s competition with a trip to St. James’ Park in Alnwick, where they produced a dominant display to overcome their Northumberland opponents.
Danielle Young’s side sealed a deserved victory with goals from Iszy Binks, Hannah Forster, Katie Smith and Emily Hollinshead, thereby booking their place in the Second Round of the Women’s FA Cup.
It was a return to winning ways for the Coasters after suffering a 3-0 defeat at Boldmere St Michaels in their previous league game. Alnwick Town Ladies, who compete one division below in the FAWNL Division One North, were looking to cause a cup upset after reaching the First Round Proper with a 3-1 victory over Chorley Women in the previous round.
Among the changes to the Fylde line-up, Megan Hunter made a welcome return between the sticks, while Hannah Fryer strengthened the defence and Amy Hughes spearheaded the attack.
Both teams paid their respects on Remembrance Sunday by observing a minute’s silence prior to kick-off.
The Coasters started strongly and went ahead with only a few minutes on the clock. After excellent build-up play on the right, Forster squared the ball to Binks, who turned inside on the edge of the area before firing a sensational strike into the bottom right corner.
It did not take long for the Coasters to score their second of the afternoon. After Sasha Rowe sprayed a delightful pass down the left, Binks knocked the ball inside for Hughes, who then sent in a cross that was only partially cleared. Forster controlled the loose ball on the edge of the area and hit a rasping drive into the bottom left corner of the net. Alnwick goalkeeper Katy Stark managed to get a hand to the shot but was beaten by the sheer power of the strike.
Moments later, the Coasters nearly added a third goal, only to be denied by some heroic defending by the Town backline. After intercepting a back-pass, Katie Smith rounded Stark but saw her goalbound effort cleared off the line before Caz Fields’ follow-up attempt was blocked and hooked clear.
In the 12th minute, Fields and Smith combined once again, only this time Smith finished off a slick passing move to extend the Coasters’ lead. Forster played in Fields, who picked out Smith with a low centre, and Smith made no mistake with a side-footed finish.
As Fylde continued to press forward, Forster arrowed a shot that seemed destined for the bottom corner, but Stark got down well to turn the shot around the post.
On the half-hour mark, Hollinshead made it four with an exquisite volleyed finish. Fields chipped in a cross that was headed on by Young into the path of Hollinshead, who buried a volley into the far corner of the net.
The Coasters continued to dominate possession but were unable to add to their goal tally as the first half drew to a close.
Half-Time: Alnwick Town Ladies FC 0-4 AFC Fylde Women
Following the restart, the home side played on the front foot in search of a way back into the game. After an early attempt cleared the crossbar, Alnwick threatened again but Fylde goalkeeper Hunter reacted well to gather a cross at the feet of Town striker Michelle Stewart.
At the other end, Rowe almost scored directly from a corner kick when her delivery struck the back post before the ball bounced out to Fields, who shot wide from the rebound.
Refusing to give up, Town rallied late on and were eventually rewarded with a goal in the 86th minute. A deep cross from the left found Catherine Johnston on the edge of the six-yard box, and Johnston finished past Hunter to score a late consolation.
The Coasters still had time to test the keeper again when substitute Faye McCoy teed up Rowe, who lashed a first-time shot that Stark managed to palm away.
Full-Time: Alnwick Town Ladies FC 1-4 AFC Fylde Women
In the meantime, the Coasters have been drawn at home to Middlesbrough Women FC in the Second Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. This tie will be played at Kellamergh Park on Sunday 27th November, with kick-off at 1.00 pm.
AFC Fylde Women: Hunter, Fryer, Young, Taylor, Binks, Forster, Rowe, Fields, Hollinshead (64’ Hignett), Smith, Hughes (87′ McCoy).
Unused substitutes: Pomfret, Merrin.
Report by Scott Jones