In their first away game of the new campaign, AFC Fylde Women fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest Women in FAWNL Northern Premier Division.
Goals on either side of the interval gave the Reds all three points in a hard-fought contest at the Halbrooke Stadium in Eastwood.
Heading into the fixture, the Coasters were looking for a positive response after a goalless stalemate against Brighouse Town Women in their season opener at Kellamergh Park.
As for their opponents, Andy Cook’s Forest side had kicked off their campaign with an impressive 6-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion Women.
In the last meeting between the two sides in mid-February, Fylde ran out 2-1 winners at Kellamergh Park. After Forest had taken the lead, the Coasters fought back to earn all three points with a headed equaliser from Faye McCoy and a stoppage-time winner from Amy Hughes.
For the trip to the East Midlands, Fylde manager Danielle Young handed a first start to defender Kelsey Pearson and brought striker Faye McCoy into the starting line-up. Recent signings Iszy Binks and Charlie Hignett also started on the bench.
The Coasters made a solid start as they looked to maintain possession and build the play out from the back. At the ten-minute mark, Fylde goalkeeper Megan Hunter was called into action when she saved Lyndsey Harkin’s low effort on target.
Barely ten minutes later, Hunter made another superb save, this time pushing Sophie Domingo’s powerful effort onto the crossbar before the ball was cleared away to safety.
The Reds continued to apply pressure with a series of dangerous corner kicks, but the Fylde backline defended resolutely to nullify the threat from set pieces.
In the 40th minute, Forest broke the deadlock when Domingo slammed the ball home from close range to give the hosts the advantage just before the break. It was a cruel blow for the Coasters with only minutes of the first half remaining.
Half-Time: Nottingham Forest Women FC 1-0 AFC Fylde Women
In the second period, the Coasters pressed for the equaliser but struggled to find the all-important breakthrough to reward their promising build-up play.
Approaching the hour mark, Hunter showed great reflexes to push Domingo’s shot around the post following a quickly worked free-kick. Domingo almost turned provider when she crossed to Becky Anderson in the box, but Anderson’s hurried effort went wide of the post.
With a quarter of an hour left, Fylde’s Iszy Binks made her league debut, replacing Katie Smith in attack.
Minutes later, Forest managed to double their lead when defender Olivia Cook scored with a fierce strike against the underside of the crossbar. Despite Hunter’s best efforts to keep the ball out, the officials deemed that the ball had crossed the line.
Shortly afterwards, Charlie Hignett made her league bow for the Coasters when she replaced Amy Hughes for the closing minutes of the contest. As the referee blew the final whistle, Fylde’s first away game of the season ended in defeat.
Full-Time: Nottingham Forest Women FC 2-0 AFC Fylde Women
It is a quick turnaround for the Coasters as they now prepare to welcome Burnley FC Women to Kellamergh Park on Wednesday 31st August for a mid-week Lancashire derby.
AFC Fylde Women: Hunter, Fryer, Carroll, Pearson, Merrin, Forster, Holbrook, Redgrave, Hughes (85’ Hignett), Smith (75’ Binks), McCoy.
Unused substitutes: Etheridge, Young.