AFC Fylde were defeated 2-0 away to Rochdale at Spotland on Boxing Day, despite a spirited second-half performance.

Ian Henderson opened the scoring for Dale on the stroke of half-time before Kwaku Oduroh sealed the three points in added time for Jim McNulty’s Dale.
Chris Beech made the one change to the side that was held to a draw against Dagenham & Redbridge at the weekend, as Danny Whitehead replaced Nick Haughton.

The Coasters started positively in Greater Manchester, with former Dale midfielder Dan Adshead sending a header narrowly wide of Louie Moulden’s bottom left-post.

Crosses into the box from Jon Ustabasi and Josh Kay early on proved to be defended well by the Dale defence.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s lofted pass up field saw Theo Richardson forced to claim possession under pressure from the advancing Jesurun Uchegbulam.

Sam Graham, another Coasters player lining up against his old club, then had to be alert to head Uchegbulam’s dangerous cross out for a corner.

The Dale were looking threatening in front of a large support, and Coasters captain Harry Davis brilliantly cleared Harvey Gilmour’s strike inside the box off the line, following good build-up play.

Midway through the half, Kay hit a rising strike off target from for the Coasters.

Towards the break, Davis bravely threw himself in the way of Jimmy Keohane’s fierce attempt in the box, as Max Conway cleared the loose ball from danger.

Moulden was forced into a low stop after Kay surged down the left and into the box, weaving into space to aim a left-footed shot across goal, but the Dale stopper held on.

But the Coasters were behind on the stroke of half-time. Moulden pass was chased onto by Henderson, who lifted the ball over Richardson and into the back of the net.

Half-Time: Rochdale 1-0 AFC Fylde

Fylde began the second-half with attacking intent. Minutes after the restart, Charman pounced on a tame pass to drive forward at goal, with Keohane able to charge down his shot for another set-piece.

From the resulting corner, which was taken shortly, Conway’s 25-yard shot went just past the post.

A neat passing move involving Kieran Glynn and Connor Barrett teed up Charman, with the effort deflecting into Moulden’s grasp.

Buoyed by a positive opening, Fylde went forward again, with Kay running onto a ball behind the Dale backline, though he could only find Moulden’s gloves after shooting a low effort straight at the goalkeeper.

Just beyond the hour mark, Gilmour clipped a cross in from the right into the box, aimed for Henderson and Sinclair, with Richardson able to collect and bowl out to Barrett.

Beech made a double change for the Coasters on 68 minutes. Danny Ormerod and Haughton came on for Kay and Charman.

Fylde went close to equalising after Ustabasi’s cross dropped for Ormerod, only for Cameron John’s superb tackle denying the Coasters a leveller.

The Coasters had some resolute defending to do of their own, as Davis thumped a Sinclair cross clear.

Dale number one Moulden later made two big saves to keep out Ormerod and Ustabasi’s in one-on-one situations.

Taelor O’Kane came on as the Coasters’ final change with nine minutes left, coming on for Danny Whitehead.

In the closing stages, Haughton’s corner was headed wide at the back post by an unmarked Davis.

Haughton himself flashed a low strike across goal which Moulden watched and held well through a crowd of players.

As they searched for an elusive equaliser, Haughton’s corner was claimed by Moulden who quickly set Oduroh free to run the length of the pitch to convert into an empty net.

Rochdale AFC: Moulden, John, East (Taylor 88), Ebanks-Landell ©, Keohane, Armstrong, Nevitt, Sinclair, Uchegbulam (Afuye 73), Sinclair, Henderson

Subs not used:  Edwards, Burgess

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Barrett, Davis ©, Graham, Conway, Adshead, Glynn, Whitehead, Kay (Ormerod 68), Ustabasi, Charman (Haughton 68)

Subs not used: Gordon, Obi