Despite taking an early lead, AFC Fylde were beaten 2-1 in a spirited performance away at high-flying Solihull Moors in the Vanarama National League on Tuesday night.

Emeka Obi headed Fylde into an early lead in the West Midlands after some Josh Kay brilliance found him at the back post, but late first-half goals from Kade Craig and Josh Kelly meant the Coasters were behind at the break.

Craig managed to put himself up there as a contender for goal of the season, curling left-footed into the top left corner from the right and 30 yards out before Kelly’s timid but accurate strike edged Solihull in front. 

Adam Murray handed new signing Sam Graham a place in the starting line-up, whilst Jon Ustabasi came in for Luke Charman.

The Coasters had some early defending to do three minutes in when Joe Newton’s cross from the left was cleared behind by Luke Conlan before they threatened themselves minutes later as Jon Ustabasi fed Josh Kay, who saw his cross deflect off James Clarke for a corner, which led to the visitors’ opener on eight minutes.

Haughton’s resulting set-piece from the left dropped to Kay in the box, who hit a left-footed strike across goal, which Obi headed in unmarked at the back post, beating Moors goalkeeper Tommy Simkin.

Pushing to equalise, Kelly was allowed space to turn and volley, with his effort crashing off Richardson’s crossbar from distance.

Richardson was later well-positioned to save low from Matty Warburton’s long-distance shot before Jamey Osbourne fizzed a low drive wide.

Midway through the half, Newton could not reach Craig’s enticing cross to the back post under pressure from Gordon and Obi before Craig brought his side back on level terms.

After being picked out down the right, Craig cut inside and whipped a wicked left-footed shot into Richardson’s top-left corner, leaving the Coasters shot-stopper rooted to the spot.

The Moors’ second came in the 44th minute when Kelly played a neat one-two with Osbourne to bend left-footed from the edge of the box, finding Richardson’s bottom left corner.

Murray’s men almost levelled in first-half added time after Ustabasi got the better of Kyle Morrison to aim an attempt at goal, but Simkin was equal to it.

Half-Time: Solihull Moors 2-1 AFC Fylde

Fylde had an opportunity to restore parity early in the second half. However, after Kay was fouled on the edge of the box by Osbourne, Haughton clipped his right-footed free-kick over the wall but off Simkin’s target.

Debutant Graham guided a header from Haughton’s floated corner towards goal, though following a goal-mouth scramble, Simkin gathered possession before the Coasters defence had work to do as Kelly weaved upfield, but a combination of Kyron Gordon and Obi managed to cut out the danger.

With just under 20 minutes left, Haughton’s free-kick from the edge of the box travelled across goal at speed, flashing narrowly past Simkin’s far post.

Substitute Barrett was then in the right place at the right time to prevent Connor Hall from sweeping Jack Stevens’s cross beyond Richardson following a swift breakaway.

As the contest entered its closing stages, Whitehead’s first-time shot from just outside the box landed inches wide of Simkin’s bottom left post before Richardson held onto Stevens’ snapshot in a frantic end to the game, which zipped off the wet turf.

There were very few minutes left on the clock when Haughton tested Simkin again with a dipping effort from range, which the Moors stopper managed to push away for a corner, with Fylde unable to find a late equaliser.

Solihull Moors: Simkin, Clarke, Newton, Stearman, Osbourne ©, Morrison, Maycock, Mafuta, Craig, Kelly (Stevens 65′), Warburton (Hall 76′)

Subs not used: Barratt, Gordon, Brogan

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Conlan, Obi, Graham, Gordon, Kay, Philliskirk © (Omotayo 76′), Whitehead, Ustabasi (Charman 56′), Haughton, Ligendza (Barrett 56′)

Subs not used: Glynn, O’Kane