The Coasters got their pre-season off to a flyer with a 4-1 victory over Longridge Town at the Recycling Lives Ground Stadium.

Will Hatfield gave his side the lead just before the break when he finished off a well-worked move by curling into the bottom right corner.

Once the second half got underway, the floodgates opened. Trialist C poked in from close range before Emeka Obi & Jon Ustabasi got on the scoresheet to round off the scoring after Brett McGovern pulled one back for the hosts.

It was the first outing for the Coasters since a memorable final-day victory over Bradford (Park Avenue), which saw Adam Murray’s men claim the 2022/23 National League North title.

With a fully fit squad at his disposal, Murray named two XIs for the first and second half, with many stars from last season involved alongside all the new signings, which included Theo Richardson, Kieran Glynn, Jon Ustabasi and Gold Omotayo.

The hosts started brightly in the opening ten minutes, with Jack Anderton seeing his effort fro 30 yards sail over the bar after he drove at Trialist A and thumped left-footed at goal.

However, Fylde settled into proceedings quickly when Joe Rowley ran infield and set Nick Haughton on the edge of the area, though as the ball bobbled away from him, Danny Whitehead’s follow-up was blocked.

Whitehead, someone who isn’t known for his shooting at Mill Farm, had another opportunity fall his way moments later, which ended up deflecting over the bar.

As the Coasters started to stamp their authority on their first pre-season outing, there was a sense that the first goal of the game would shortly be arriving.

Haughton went close after skidding a strike off the Recycling Lives Ground surface and inches wide of the post before Luke Conlan was left free at the back post to volley inches wide. 

With ten minutes to go until the break, the deadlock was eventually broken when Will Hatfield finished neatly into the bottom corner.

A nice, free-flowing move was started after Haughton slid Trialist D down the line, who flashed across the face of goal to Trialist B for the cutback to Hatfield for him to calmly slot in.

Half-Time: Longridge Town 0-1 AFC Fylde   

As a different XI took to the field for the second half, it only took eight minutes for the Coasters to extend their lead further with what was the first shot on target after the break.

Tom Walker’s cross was headed away by the Ridge defence, but only to the feet of Connor Barrett on the edge of the area, who took one touch and fiercely struck at goal. The effort was saved well but spilt by Kier Barry to the feet of Trialist C, and he poked into the net at the first time of asking.

However, eight minutes later, Longridge halved the deficit after a quick free-kick was latched onto by McGovern racing through on goal and slotted into the bottom left corner.

The game certainly opened up as changes started to be made and legs were tiring, which allowed the Coasters to add a third from a Tom Walker corner, with Obi rising highest to head in. 

Fylde looked strong and were attacking at every given moment, and after Kieran Glynn picked up the ball in the middle third and switched play to Barrett, the right-wing back squared across goal to Ustabasi for a gentle tap-in and the final action of the evening..

Full-Time: Longridge Town 1-4 AFC Fylde    

Longridge Town: Barry, Marshall, McLean (70’ A.Hewitt), Wilkinson, Gourley, Fletcher, Fletcher, Harries, Anderton (65’ Skerritt), Homson-Smith, Smith, McGovern (80’ Schofield).

Unused subs: Ball, L. Hewitt.

AFC Fylde First Half XI: Richardson, O’Kane, Whitmore, Trialist, Trialist, Hatfield, Whitehead, Conlan, Haughton, Rowley, Omotayo.

Unused Subs: Ormerod, Aubrey-Williams, Trialist.

AFC Fylde Second Half XI: Sergeant, Obi, Davis, Bird, Walker, Barrett, Philliskirk Glynn, Ustabasi, Delfouneso, Ligendza.

Unused Subs: Ormerod, Aubrey-Williams, Trialist.