The Coasters started 2022 in positive fashion with a 2-0 win over Leamington FC at the Your Co-Op Community Stadium in their return to National League North action.
Sam Osborne set the ball rolling with a superb effort from just inside the area before Alex Whitmore doubled his side’s lead with a powerful header from close range.
Jim Bentley made four changes to his side from the 1-1 draw away at Chester, with Jack Evans, Luke Joyce, Danny Whitehead & Sam Osborne coming in to replace Kieran Lloyd, David Perkins, Jordan Hulme & Jack Sampson.
The game saw the Coasters control the opening 15 minutes, with the best chance coming through Nick Haughton after he was brought down 25 yards from goal. The midfielder stepped but struck straight down the throat of Jake Weaver.
Looking bright from the start, new signing Danny Whitehead fancied a debut goal, and he nearly had the opener when he drove towards goal, dropped his shoulder and unleashed an effort towards the bottom corner of the net, but Weaver got down and saved well.
Despite Fylde’s bright start, the hosts were to have a chance of their own when Steph Morley crossed towards Kelsey Mooney on the penalty spot, who headed into Bobby Jones’ hands with a timid effort.
After a quiet spell, the Coasters made their dominance count through Osborne. The winger received the ball just inside the 18-yard box, chipped an effort over Weaver onto the post and into the back of the net.
With five minutes to go until the break, Dan Meredith found himself in unfamiliar territory when he beat Ben Tollitt outside the area and struck left-footed at goal, which Jones held with ease.
Half-Time: Leamington 0-1 AFC Fylde
Leamington came out in the second half looking to prove a point. Morley picked the ball up and tried his luck from distance, but Jones kept hold of the strike well.
However, the Coasters turned on the style when it was needed after a well-worked corner eventually fell to Danny Philliskirk on the right, who worked his way to the by-line and crossed into the six-yard box where Alex Whitmore was waiting to head in.
Another half-chance came for the home side when Whitmore brought down Mooney 35 yards from goal, but when Morley stepped up to take the set-piece, Whitmore was there to clear the danger.
In the dying minutes of the game, there was time for one more chance as Tollitt zipped a ball across the face of goal to Jack Sampson at the back post, though several Leamington shirts retreated to the line to deny him from close range.
Full-Time: Leamington FC 0-2 AFC Fylde
Leamington FC: Weaver, Meredith, Morley, Clarke (71’ Clarke), Morrison ©, Lane, Kelly-Evans (79’ Cooke), Wilding, Mooney, Barkers (71’ Gittings), Turner.
Unused subs: Parker, Cooke, Gittings, English, Mace.
AFC Fylde: Jones, Pike, Whitmore ©, Stott, Evans, Joyce, Philliskirk, Whitehead (86’ Robinson), Tollitt, Osborne (75’ Shaw), Haughton (80’ Sampson).
Unused subs: Obi, Gregson.