Bradford Park Ave vs AFC Fylde

National League North
Mon 29th August 2016
Score: 1 - 4

Match Report

A hat-trick from Danny Rowe ensured AFC Fylde remain top of the National League North after a 4-1 victory at Bradford Park Avenue.

The Coasters maintained their unbeaten start to the season after Rowe’s treble and a deft flick from Steve Williams sealed a deserved three points.

Dave Challinor made just one change to the side that triumphed in the top of the table clash against FC Halifax Town last time out with Matty Hughes coming in for the injured Sam Finley.

Only the woodwork prevented Bradford winger Ben McKenna from opening the scoring early on as he lifted a delicate cross into the box from the right that landed on the crossbar and bounced behind to safety.

James Hardy hit back with a chance for the visitors, drilling a low strike narrowly wide of the left hand post from 20 yards.

The play swung straight back in the other direction and striker Chris Sharp was close with a half volley from the angle that could only find the side-netting.

Hardy was looking a threat early on and was again just off target when he cut inside from the left and fired over the bar.

After a lull in play, the visitors took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark. Bohan Dixon nicked in down the left, raced down to the byline and crossed for Rowe to tap home from six yards.

The frontman continued his fine form in front of goal and doubled the Coasters’ lead on the stroke of half-time. The 28-year-old was brought down 25 yards out and dusted himself off to curl a free-kick into the bottom left hand corner.

However just seconds later Bradford were back in the game. McKenna delivered an inviting ball across goal and Sharp had the simple task of tapping home from point blank range at the far post.

Rowe was close to bagging a second hat-trick of the season after the restart but debutant goalkeeper Joe Cracknall got down well to his low left footed strike.

Fylde did however stretch their advantage a minute later when Caspar Hughes chipped the ball into the box from 30 yards and Steve Williams flicked the ball over Cracknall at the first time of asking.

The Coasters had a firm grip on the game and could have gone further ahead just before the hour mark when Dixon slipped two markers before firing straight at the goalkeeper. Full-back Kennedy went closer still when his looping cross evaded everyone and crashed back off the bar.

Hardy should have put the match to bed when he was played in by Dixon but he cut back onto his right gave the keeper a chance to adjust and save his eventual strike.

The Coasters were out of sight with 15 minutes to play and it was another for star striker Rowe. The hitman beat his man on the edge of the box and slotted into the bottom right hand corner to seal his hat-trick.  

The fifth goal looked to be coming and some fantastic play from Hardy almost brought it about, turning two markers before playing in Matt Blinkhorn, but no one could get on the end of the striker’s cross.

Bradford thought that had a late consolation in the dying seconds when McKenna turned home Liam Dickinson’s cross but the attacker was deemed offside.

Blinkhorn was close to adding his name to the scoresheet seconds before the final whistle but his long range curling effort was just wide of the right post.

Bradford PA: Cracknell, Toulson (Boshell 61), McWilliams, Dean, Coates, Kearns, McKenna, Wroe (Monaghan 71), Sharp, Payne, Davie.

Subs not used: Osborne, Ryan.

AFC Fylde: Thompson, Holmes, Langley (Collins 69), Williams, Kennedy, C. Hughes, Bond, Dixon (Baker 75), Hardy, M. Hughes, Rowe (Blinkhorn 80).

Subs not used: Finley, Newell.

Ref: Simon Mather

Att: 347