AFC Fylde were narrowly defeated 2-1 away to Altrincham in the Vanarama National League at the J Davidson Stadium, despite going into the break with the lead.

Connor Barrett’s goal midway through the first half sent Fylde at half-time, but Chris Conn-Clarke’s double after half-time turned the game on its head and won it for the high-flying promotion hopefuls.

Chris Beech made five changes to the side that prevailed over Nuneaton Borough on penalties last time out, with Theo Richardson, Sam Graham, Josh Kay, Jon Ustabasi and Luke Charman coming into the side. 

Emeka Obi, Danny Philliskirk and Danny Ormerod took places on the bench alongside new signing Dan Adshead.

Early on into the game, Sam Graham and Max Conway had to safely clear threats in their own box, as the hosts searched for an opener.

The first clear chance of the half went to Altrincham on six minutes when Alex Newby flicked the ball through to Chris Conn-Clarke, who drove his shot into Richardson’s side-netting.

Midway through the half, Ustabasi’s cross was headed out for a corner by Jake Cooper, with Chapman lurking in the box.

Fylde were ahead on 27 minutes after Barrett weaved into the box from the right to curl a left-footed strike across goal and into Ethan Ross’ top corner to net his second in as many games.

Minutes after taking the lead, the Coasters had some defending to do, thwarting Justin Amaluzor’s free-kick and Conn-Clarke’s follow-up.

Newby’s cross moments later evaded everyone in the box before dropping to Lewis Banks on the right side of the box, who set himself and aimed a low strike at goal, which Richardson dropped down well to his right to save.

Up the other end, Josh Kay bent a strike from the edge of the box, but his effort was held by Ross.

The half ended with Fylde having to navigate significant Altrincham pressure. Firstly, Banks’ delivery was met by Dackers’ header, which Richardson denied before the Coasters goalkeeper had to produce a good stop to keep out Amaluzor’s low shot from a tight angle, as Fylde went into the break in the lead.

Half-Time: Altrincham 0-1 AFC Fylde

Five minutes on from the restart, attacking play down the right from Ustabasi and Barrett allowed the latter to drill a cross into the box, with Ross parrying away to safety at the last second.

Phil Parkinson’s Robins levelled with 58 minutes played when Conn-Clarke’s right-footed free-kick curled over the wall to beat Richardson.

Not deterred by the setback, Fylde broke forward with intent when Glynn’s tidy drive found Nick Haughton, who hit a first-time effort from point-blank range, which Ross did well to save.

Fylde went even closer to restoring their lead, with Haughton capitalising on Ross spilling a cross to turn a shot at goal, which was cleared off the line by Eddy Jones.

In an end-to-end encounter, Amaluzor hit the post for the hosts, whilst Richardson denied Dackers as both sides traded chances at goal.

Altrincham’s second and winner came from Conn-Clarke’s right-footed long-range effort from distance, clipping the post before crashing into Richardson’s net.

The Coasters could not find an elusive equaliser during the closing stages of play and slipped to defeat in Greater Manchester.

Altrincham FC: Ross, Banks, Jones, Baines, Osborne, Marriott (C), Conn-Clarke (Wilson 79), Amaluzor (Kosylo 67), Cooper, Dackers (Linney 67), Newby.

Subs not used: Angus, Gould.

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Barrett, Davis, Graham, Conway, O’Kane, Glynn (Adshead 64), Haughton (Ormerod 79), Kay (Rowley 86), Ustabasi, Charman

Subs not used: Obi, Philliskirk