A Matty Blinkhorn header made sure that The Coasters came away with all three points in their home match against Kings Lynn Town in the final game of the Evo Stik Premier League season.
The win, which was just about deserved given the events of the game, cemented AFC Fylde’s place in the league play-off’s by finishing third in the table and setting up the semi-final encounter against Worksop this coming Tuesday night at Kellamergh Park.
The game itself started quite openly, with both Fylde and Kings Lynn seeing plenty of early possession, but neither team really made it count and this was the story of the game really, as both sides lacked any real quality in the final third on the pitch for various reasons.
Danny Lloyd looked lively down the left hand side as always, and he dragged an early shot wide of Alexander Street’s far post after good build up play from the Fylde midfielders to set him up.
After that early shot, you would have thought that the first half at least would have been an entertaining affair, but in truth there were few chances at all and when the chances came for The Coasters they ultimately failed to take them.
Matty Blinkhorn, The Coasters captain and main striker in the game, saw a header easily saved from a testing cross from left back Adam Sumner, and then a shot from Richie Allen a few minutes later went into the side netting. Fylde certainly had the better chances in the first half and although Kings Lynn would have been disappointed not to have snatched a late equalizer.
The home side actually ended the first half well, with shots from the goalscorer Blinkhorn, Sean Cooke and Richie Allen again but none of the attempts came that close to breaking the deadlock.
The second half was quite similar to the first half in that both teams saw plenty of the ball without really making the possession count.
The Coasters once again started the half the better, and Danny Lloyd poked over the bar from a good position after excellent work down the right wing from Richie Allen. Then, after seeing his team mate miss from close range, Allen decided to try and break the deadlock himself, but his shot hit the keeper and went out for a corner.
King’s Lynn then threatened with about 20 minutes to go, Andrew Hall took on a couple of players before seeing his shot go agonizingly wide of Hinchliffe’s left hand post.
Michael Barnes came on for Sean Cooke and really brought an extra dimension to the Fylde attack as he mesmerised the away side’s defence and put in a few crosses of real quality.
Blinkhorn then headed the winner on 73 minutes when a good cross in from the right hand side met the forward and put it past the keeper to send the fans behind the goal into raptures as he gave The Coasters the lead that they probably deserved up until that point.
There was plenty of late pressure from the away side in the final 15 minutes, but their afternoon was summed up when a succession of corners resulted in giving away a free kick for handball from Ryan Clarke as he attempted to punch the ball into the net, disguising his actions as a diving header. However, the attempt went wide, the referee saw the incident and duely blew for a Coasters free kick.
It wasn’t over yet though, as Hinchliffe had to make a couple of late saves to deny Kings Lynn from taking a point away from KP. George Thompson squandered a glorious chance to snatch a point in the 4th minute of added on time, but Hinchliffe was equal to the attempt and Fylde hung on to claim their win.
Boss Dave Challinor said of the game; “It was a poor performance, the draw would have been enough in the end but we wanted to win to keep up the good form and take momentum into the Worksop game on Tuesday. Overall, pleased with 3 points. We knew what we needed to do and we got the job done in a professional way.”
About the game on Tuesday against Worksop he added “Play-off games have nothing to do with form in all honesty but we will be looking for a good performance all round. It’s all about which teams wants it more on the night.”
It was a game of few chances and little quality in both penalty areas but Fylde won’t mind that one bit as they gained momentum going into their play-off charge.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Russell, Booth, Allen, Winter (70), Blinkhorn (77), Cooke (64), Lloyd; Subs: M. Barnes (64), Charnley, Noon (77), Mullen (70), Gregory.