A well contested pre-season fixture at Mill Farm between the Coasters and Rochdale A.F.C ended in defeat for Jim Bentley’s side, as the National League North campaign draws closer.  

Jake Beesley’s first-half strike was the difference in the Coasters’ latest pre-season game, despite plenty of chances falling Fylde’s way.  

Jim Bentley made three changes to the side that lost narrowly to Wigan Athletic in midweek, as Danny Philliskirk, Ben Tollitt & Jordan Hulme came into the starting XI to replace David Perkins, Nick Haughton & Sam Osborne. There was also a place on the bench for Stephen Dobbie.

The game got off to a lively start at Mill Farm. First, Rochdale had an effort ripple the side netting before Jack Sampson had a goal chalked off after the assistant had his flag raised for offside.  

Nathan Shaw then brought the Coasters forward down the left and drove into the final third to get a left-footed shot away, though the Rochdale defence stood firm to block.  

Jim Bentley’s side started the brighter of the two, and it was Sampson who drove forward with the ball and worked enough space to lay Luke Conlan off for a shot, but he fired wide.  

Dale started to get on the ball a little more, and that resulted in Matt Done fizzing a shot goalwards, though Emeka Obi blocked the effort to relieve any danger.  

Then, a fine passing move saw the Coasters work their way up the pitch where Ben Tollitt received the ball out wide to whip a dangerous cross towards Jordan Hulme at the back post, however, he could only find the side netting.  

It was a game that was end-to-end as it approached the 30-minute mark, and after a free-kick was cleared by Fylde, Trialist B for Rochdale recycled the ball back into the danger zone where Done got above everyone to head wide.  

The breakthrough then came for the visitors when a mix up between Luke Joyce and Luke Conlan allowed Abraham Odoh the chance to pick a loose ball up and slide Jake Beesley in on goal, who made no mistake and slotted into the bottom corner.  

Moments before the break, the Coasters had a penalty claim waved away when Ben Tollitt was brought down in the area, and then Hulme managed to find Sampson in the six-yard box, but a great save from Trialist A denied him a goal.  

Half-Time: AFC Fylde 0-1 Rochdale A.F.C. 

Within a minute of the second half restarting, Tollitt found space to fizz a ball across the face of goal, but unfortunately, no white shirt was there to turn the ball home.  

After a corner was cleared away by Dale, Odoh broke but was quickly stopped in his tracks by Luke Burke, who received the first yellow card of the game for a late challenge.  

The Coasters were still creating chances, and this time, it was Nathan Shaw who thundered a shot goalwards, though it deflected behind for a corner that the Coasters didn’t make count.  

Rochdale were second best so far in the half, but that didn’t stop Connor Grant from getting to the byline and crossing into the area. Odoh picked the ball up and set it back for Dooley, who blasted over. 

Danny Philliskirk then found himself on the wrong side of his man, picking up a yellow card in the process before Sam Osborne raced through on goal, only to be stopped by the Trialist ‘keeper.  

After coming on with ten minutes to go, Harvey Gregson had the final chance of the game when he found space on the edge of the area to shoot, but he ended up dragging his effort wide.  

Full-Time: AFC Fylde 0-1 Rochdale A.F.C 

AFC Fylde: Neal; Burke, Whitmore (C), Obi, Conlan; Tollitt (73′ Osborne), Philliskirk (83′ Gregson), Joyce, Shaw (80′ Haughton); Hulme, Sampson (63′ Dobbie). 

Unused Subs: B.Jones, Byrne, Robinson. 

Rochdale A.F.C: Trialist A, Trialist B, Trialist C, O’Connell, Keohane, Morley, Dooley, Grant, Odoh, Beesley, Done.