AFC Fylde were defeated 3-1 away from home by Hartlepool United at the Suit Direct Stadium in front of the TNT Sports Cameras. 

Quickfire goals from Mani Dieseruvwe and Callum Cooke midway through the half saw the Coasters two behind, before Gold Omotayo pulled one back shortly before half-time.

Dieseruvwe was on target for the hosts seven minutes after the break to add a third for Hartlepool to complete the scoring and ensure Pools ended the night at the top of the Vanarama National League.

Adam Murray made four changes to the side from last weekend’s game at Wealdstone, with Owen Evans, Kieran Glynn, Connor Barrett and Jon Ustabasi coming into the side to replace Danny Whitehead, Tom Walker, Luke Charman and the suspended Pierce Bird.

In a lively start to the fixture, Theo Richardson charged out of his goal and caught Dieseruvwe on the right as the forward chased a long ball, with the Coasters keeper booked in the process.

The resulting free-kick was delivered into a crowded box by David Ferguson, which was met by former Coaster Tom Crawford, who glanced his header over at the front post.

Up the other end, Evans won possession to find fellow debutant Glynn, who drove into a dangerous position, eventually switching play in the box for Omotayo to strike powerfully straight at Joel Dixon.

Both sides were trading chances in the North-East sunshine, with Cooke’s low effort from distance straight at Richardson before the hosts opened the scoring.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Dieseruvwe got in between Alex Whitmore and Luke Conlan to meet Ferguson’s pinpoint cross and steer a header into Richardson’s bottom left corner.

John Askey’s Pools scored their second six minutes later when Cooke profited following build-up play from Chris Wreh and Dieseruvwe to bend a right-footed strike into Richardson’s bottom right corner.

Searching for a route back into the game, Nick Haughton’s lofted pass out wide set Ustabasi free down the right – however, his cross aimed for Omotayo was well defended by Dan Dodds’ sliding tackle.

Fylde had some defending to do late in the half after Anthony Mancini was played through in behind the Coasters back-line before he chipped Richardson from close range, only for Emeka Obi to race back and clear the ball off the line.

What seemed against the run of play, the Coasters were back in it in first-half added time when Ustabasi weaved into the box before letting the ball drop to Omotayo, who struck an effort that Dixon fumbled into the net, halving the deficit going into the interval.

Half-Time: Hartlepool United 2-1 AFC Fylde

The Coasters began the second half with intent. Connor Barrett did well out wide to cross into the box, which Dodds headed behind under pressure from Omotayo and Ustabasi.

But Murray’s side found themselves trailing by two again after a neat passing move involving Cooke and Ferguson ended with the ball crossed into Dieseruvwe, who swivelled in the box to drill the ball low beyond Richardson.

Substitute Joe Grey nearly added a fourth for the hosts shortly after, heading Cooke’s clipped cross narrowly over Richardson’s crossbar after a quick breakaway before Mancini’s mazy run towards the Coasters box saw the Pools man hook a shot past Richardson’s post. 

Mancini was involved in the thick of the action once again, freeing the ball to Crawford on the edge of the box, but Conlan superbly threw himself in the way of the midfield man’s goal-bound shot.

In the closing nine minutes, substitute Josh Kay collected a pass and found Conlan, to arrow a powerful strike that dipped over Dixon’s upright.

With very few minutes left on the clock, Ustabasi forced Dixon to a low stop to his left from long-range, before hitting a volley over from Kay’s cross, which proved to be the last action of the evening.

Full-Time: Hartlepool United 3-1 AFC Fylde

Hartlepool United: Dixon, Dodds, Onariase, Lacey, Ferguson ©, Seaman (Paterson 88), Crawford, Mancini (Wallace 77), Cooke, Wreh (Gray 48), Dieseruvwe

Subs not used: Jameson, Hastie

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Conlan, Whitmore ©, Obi, Evans, Glynn, Barrett (Kay 65), Philliskirk, Haughton (Whitehead 78), Ustabasi, Omotayo (Ligendza 56)

Subs not used: Davis, Walker

Goals: Dieseruvwe, 25, 52, Cooke, 33, Omotayo, 45+1