AFC Fylde travelled back to the Fylde Coast with three points in their back pockets after picking up a 2-1 win at Roots Hall against Southend United in the National League.
The Coasters took the lead just two minutes in when Taelor O’Kane broke free from a corner and beautifully guided a header into the top corner, a goal that would see the away side go into the break ahead.
Southend had a point to prove in the second half, which saw a long ball upfield fall to Harry Cardwell, who gave Richardson the eyes and slotted into the bottom left corner.
After posing as huge threats to Southend all afternoon, Josh Kay & Jon Ustabasi combined for Kay to set Ustabasi free and in on goal, with the wide man beating David Martin and sealing all three points for the Coasters.
Adam Murray made three changes to his side from Tuesday night, with Owen Evans, Taelor O’Kane and Gold Omotayo replacing Luke Conlan, Danny Philliskirk & Luke Charman.
The Coasters made the perfect start to the game after just two minutes when, following Jon Ustabasi winning a corner, Nick Haughton found an unmarked O’Kane inside the 18-yard box, who headed into the top corner.
Despite Gold Omotayo seeing a shot travel wide of the post at one end, the hosts zipped a ball across the 18-yard box and to the back post down the other, hoping for the slightest of touches to convert, but it evaded everyone, and Sam Graham mopped up.
Adam Murray’s side were looking good and threatening in the opening stages, with a second nearly arriving after Kay set Ustabasi free down the right, who unleashed at goal but saw the shot eventually cleared off the line.
Chances continued to come for the Coasters, and this time, Nick Haughton, after Omotayo did so well to fight off Ollie Kensdale and switch the number 10, who dropped a shoulder and curled inches over the bar.
The hosts hadn’t seen many chances fall their way, but the one that did came through Jack Wood, but Theo Richardson was equal to it, saving with his right boot and sending the Coasters into the break with a slight lead.
Half-Time: Southend United 0-1 AFC Fylde
Whatever Southend boss Kevin Maher said to his side at the interval, it seemed to have done the trick as a long ball upfield was pounced upon by Cardwell, who gave Richardson the eyes and slotted into the bottom left corner.
However, the Coasters always have a never-say-die attitude, with Murray’s men continuing to fight, which led to Ustabasi putting his side back in front.
After Kay turned and spotted Ustabasi racing past Jason Demetriou, the wideman used his pace, shaped his body and lifted over David Martin in the Shrimpers goal, rippling the blue & white netting in the process.
The afternoon’s work was more like the Coasters every Fylde fan knows and loves. Emeka Obi then almost added a third after controlling superbly from a Kay corner and volleying towards the top corner, forcing Martin into a good fingertip stop.
Southend thought they had an equalizer in the dying embers, only to be denied by a solid Sam Graham header off the line to earn Murray’s men a huge three points down South.
Full-Time: Southend United 1-2 AFC Fylde
Southend United: Martin, Kensdale, Bridge, Husin, Cardwell, Mooney, Wood (83’ Powell), Miley, Fonguck (62’ Vilhete), Demetriou, Coker.
Unused Subs: Taylor.
AFC Fylde: Richardson, Gordon, Graham, Obi, Evans, Ustabasi, Whitehead, O’Kane (64’ Philliskirk), Haughton (64’ Conlan), Kay, Omotayo (74’ Charman).
Unused subs: Barrett, Ligendza.