The Coasters fell to their first loss of the season against Banbury United after a 3-1 defeat at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.  

Most of the goals were seen in the first-half when first, Connor Radcliffe put Banbury in front with a fierce effort into the top of the net before Nick Haughton drew the Coasters level from the spot with ten minutes to go until the break.

The lead didn’t last long, as Alex Babos found the bottom corner from 25 yards out, which looked to have been kept out by Chris Neal but ended up trickling in at the near post.

A third goal sealed the three points for the hosts after Morgan Roberts was allowed time and space to put a ball to the back post, and Jak Hickman was there to tap in from close range.

James Rowe named an unchanged side for the visit to the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium, with Luke Conlan being the only change in the squad replacing Harry Davis on the bench.

Banbury were looking to set a high tempo early on, which brought the first chance of the game for the home side when Jak Hickman dragged an effort wide before Babos blasted over.

Despite Nick Haughton having a few half chances, it was the hosts who took advantage of their fast start. Alex Whitmore committed a foul on the edge of the area, which allowed Jack Stevens to strike at goal from the free-kick.

The ball eventually worked its way into the area and wasn’t dealt with by the Fylde defence, and Ben Radcliffe smashed into the roof of the net from close range.

Fylde had chances of their own to draw level five minutes later. First, Haughton floated a free-kick towards the penalty spot where Whitmore met but headed inches wide.

However, the best chance came when a mistake in the Banbury goal by Jack Harding presented Haughton and Joe Rowley with a two versus one situation, who almost combined to score the equaliser, only for a last-ditch block on the line to prevent Rowley from rippling the net.

There was hope for the Coasters as the time ticked down, and Rowe’s side managed to find an equaliser after Rowley was shoved down in the area, giving Haughton the chance to convert powerfully into the bottom corner.

Banbury had other ideas, as the goal didn’t seem to rock them in any way, shape or form when they raced forward and almost instantly took the lead when Babos’ laced effort from 25 yards out was saved by Chris Neal but trickled in at the near post.

Half-Time: Banbury United 2-1 AFC Fylde

James Rowe’s side came out for the second half on the front foot and looked the side most likely to get the next goal, though a quick Banbury counter-attack against the run of play saw Giorgio Rasulo smash a fierce strike off the centre of the post, with Neal eventually gathering.

The Puritans were turning the game in their favour, and they made it count when Morgan Roberts managed to get to the by-line and flash a ball across the face of goal, where Hickman was there to tap in on the goal-line.

As the Coasters searched for at least one goal back, they nearly had it when Danny Philliskirk played a superb, threaded-through ball to Rowley, who was quickly denied by the on-rushing Harding.

When the game looked done and dusted, there was one last bit of drama after Jordan Cranston was pulled down, colliding with Hickman on the floor, and the referee brandished a straight red for Cranston.

Full-Time: Banbury United 3-1 AFC Fylde  

Banbury United: Harding, Roberts, Smile, Williams, Rasulo (80’ Landers), Roberts, Acquaye (88’ Brown), Hickman, Stevens, Radcliffe, Babos.

Unused subs: Owens, Taylor, Hawtin.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Whitmore, Obi, Bird (68’ Conlan), Barrett (51’ Osborne), Cranston, Philliskirk, Whitehead (58’ Patten), Rowley, Haughton, Holmes.

Unused subs: Simkin, Morrison.