AFC Fylde picked a big three points up away from home, beating league leaders Darlington FC 2-1 at Blackwell Meadows on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts took the lead before the half-hour mark when Jacob Hazel turned inside the six-yard and cutely slotted into the bottom corner.
However, Tom Walker got the Coasters back on track when he combined with Nick Haughton to drive inside the area and finish past Tommy Taylor before Haughton turned from provider to match-winner when he thundered a shot under Taylor and into the net.
Andy Taylor decided to only make one change to the Coasters squad, which earned a replay against Gillingham FC, with Luke Burke replacing Luke Conlan, who dropped to the bench.
Four minutes into the game, the first sighter on goal fell the way of the home side, with Jacob Hazel able to spin on the edge of the area but find the back of the stand behind Chris Neal’s goal.
However, as the Coasters began to settle into proceedings, the opener nearly came for the lads in dark blue after Nick Haughton managed to feed Luke Burke down the right, who took two touches to set himself and smash onto the post from just inside the area.
Fylde were playing some good stuff so far, which presented Haughton with a chance to link up with Luke Charman, who was returning to Blackwell Meadows to face his former club, on the edge of the area, with Haughton forcing Tommy Taylor into tipping around the post.
It was end-to-end, and an awkward ball fell the way of Jack Lambert, who swung a leg and missed the target by inches with just 22 minutes on the clock.
A fast-paced game was going to bring joy for one side, and that joy came for Darlington when, after Lambert slid Daniel Dodds in behind the Fylde defence, he found Hazel, who turned and struck left-footed into the bottom corner.
The lead didn’t last long for the home side after Alex Whitmore’s switch of play to Walker allowed the wide man to link up with Haughton, venture into the box and fire low under Taylor and into the bottom corner.
Half-Time: Darlington FC 1-1 AFC Fylde
Even after the interval, it was still a game that had everything, Haughton was the first to try his luck when he picked himself up from a foul and dipped a strong free-kick into the arms of Taylor from distance.
That was before Darlington tried to add a second from successive corners, which led to Jassem Sukar blasting over from the edge of the six-yard box after working some space for himself.
Around 20 minutes into the half, Danny Rowe had a perfect opportunity to put the Coasters ahead when a nice touch from Haughton set Rowe free, but as he looked for the bottom left corner, Taylor guessed right and dived to deny him.
And then, AFC Fylde took the lead through Haughton after he picked up the ball from deep, drove forward, stepped inside and beat Taylor at his near post with a fierce strike from distance.
As the Coasters pushed to add another to their tally, Haughton pounced on a lacklustre ball, rounded Taylor and was brought down by an outstretched arm, though the referee awarded the home side a free-kick and brandished a yellow card in Haughton’s direction.
Full-Time: Darlington FC 1-2 AFC Fylde
Darlington FC: Taylor, Dodds (45’ Felix), Sukar, Lawlor, Hedley, Moko, Hazel, Lambert (77’ Rivers), Beck, Purver, Leesley.
Unused subs: Rose, Liddle, Barbosa.
AFC Fylde: Neal, Whitmore, Obi, Bird, Walker (43’ Conlan), Burke, Philliskirk (64’ Whitehead), Weston, Haughton, Charman, Rowe (74’ Hatfield).
Unused subs: Davis, Rowley.