AFC Fylde Women came from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory away to Stoke City FC Women at the Emery’s Stadium on Sunday.
After trailing at the interval through Nuala Miszkiel’s fine solo goal, the Coasters fought back in the second half and completed a remarkable turnaround with goals from Amy Hughes and Alex Taylor.
James Mallett’s Coasters have been working hard on the training ground in order to achieve the strongest possible finish to the season.
The Coasters travelled to the Norton Sports Club in Staffordshire looking for a positive result after a difficult run of form in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.
Last time out, the Coasters fell to a 4-1 home defeat against Wolves Women. Despite the scoreline, Fylde could take several positives from a resilient performance against title-chasing opposition.
Following the postponement of their midweek fixture against Liverpool Feds, James Mallett’s side switched their full attention to a tricky test against Lou Roberts’ Stoke City.
Among the changes to the starting eleven, Fylde welcomed back Liz Craven between the sticks, while Emma Siddall slotted into the defence, and fellow recent recruits Clara Samson and Salma Simonin started in attack.
In a lively opening, the hosts started on the front foot. Roisin Kivel dribbled down the left wing and mustered an early attempt, but it flashed over Craven’s goal. Stoke City debutant Megan Dykes then tried her luck from range, but her shot whistled past the post.
In the 22nd minute, the Potters came close to taking the lead when Miszkiel’s powerful cross from the right ricocheted off the post before the Fylde defence managed to clear the rebound.
With half-time approaching, Miszkiel embarked on a mazy run down the right wing, cut inside onto her left foot and fired an unstoppable shot into the top right corner of the net.
Miszkiel’s sublime strike in the 39th minute gave the Potters a one-goal advantage heading into the break.
Half-Time: Stoke City FC Women 1-0 AFC Fylde Women
The Coasters came out rejuvenated in the second half and took the game to their hosts.
The Potters had their goalkeeper Liz Hobson to thank for twice denying Fylde a possible equaliser. Hobson was alert to the danger to quickly keep out two dangerous efforts.
Just past the hour mark, Fylde substitute Amy Hughes, who had been recently sidelined through injury, announced her return with a clinical finish for the equaliser. Capitalising on a defensive error, Hughes raced clear before coolly slotting home past Hobson to make it 1-1.
In the 71st minute, the Coasters were rewarded for their attacking pressure when defender Alex Taylor swept home from inside the box to complete an impressive comeback.
With the Potters failing to clear a cross from the right, the loose ball fell to Taylor, whose crisp drive sent Hobson the wrong way to make it 2-1.
The Potters made a late surge in an attempt to draw level, but an equaliser proved elusive as the game reached its conclusion.
The Coasters held firm to register their fourth win of the campaign. The result lifts them into eighth in the table and gives them a solid platform to build on in the remaining five games of the season.
Full-Time: Stoke City FC Women 1-2 AFC Fylde Women
AFC Fylde Women: Craven, Siddall, Fryer, Bickett, Merrin, Forster, Rowe, Taylor, Young, Samson, Simonin.
Substitutes: Hunter, McCoy, Hughes, Whitaker.
Stoke City FC Women: Hobson, Thompson, Gibson, Holder, Woodbyrne, Bramford, Richardson, Kivel, Jones, Dykes, Miszkiel.
Substitutes: Wilshaw, Bowyer, McCann, Delle
Report by Scott Jones