AFC Fylde vs Harrogate Town

National League North
Sat 22nd October 2016
Score: 2 - 1

Match Report

AFC Fylde maintained their four point lead at the top of the Vanarama National League North as they defeated Harrogate Town 2-1 at Mill Farm.

The visitors had taken the lead on the stroke of half time as Tom Platt turned in a free-kick at the far post but the Coasters rallied in the second half.

Two goals in four minutes from Sam Finley and James Hardy secured a crucial three points for the Coasters to tighten their grip on the automatic promotion spot.

Fylde made one change to the team that beat Nuneaton 2-1 in their last home game, with Caspar Hughes replacing Ryan Jennings.

The home side started brightly and Peter Crook in the Harrogate goal had to be alert to clear at the feet of Danny Rowe.

Fylde were having all of the ball early on and Hardy nearly celebrated his England C call up in midweek with a goal but the Harrogate defence did well to block his stinging effort.

Harrogate’s first chance came after eight minutes as centre-back Platt headed a corner just wide of Fylde’s far post.

Andy Gascoigne then had the chance to give the away side the lead as the ball broke kindly to him on the edge of the box but his left-foot strike flew just over the bar.

The visitors then wasted a great chance to take the lead with half an hour gone of the game. Marcus Day, who was making his first start for Harrogate was onside as he drifted behind the Fylde defence into the area but took too long and Tom Kennedy was able to clear the ball.

Both sides were struggling to create chances as they were limited to long range efforts. Sam Finley tried his luck for the Coasters but Crook was down smartly to deny the midfielder.

That was until Harrogate created and missed a superb chance to take the lead. Harrogate captain Joe Colbeck burst down the right and delivered a perfect cross for Joe Leesley. Leesley, on the stretch, failed to convert from inside the six-yard box.

The Harrogate pressure had been building and the visitors then took the lead on the stroke of half time with a scrappy goal. The ball found defender Platt at the far post whose effort bobbled back across goal and in off the other post.

Fylde made an attacking change at the break as Dan Bradley replaced Collins and it was the Coasters who started the second half on the front foot.

Kennedy’s free-kick fell to Finley whose rasping shot was valiantly blocked by Luke Shiels just inside the Harrogate box.

The Fylde pressure continued to build and Hardy should have brought the home side level just before the hour mark. Bradley found Rowe whose shot fell to Hardy but his effort was well saved by Crook at point-blank range.

That pressure eventually told on 62 minutes. Finley drove in from the right wing and fired a low shot straight at Crook only for the Harrogate keeper to let the ball squirm through his legs.

Just four minutes later, Fylde had the lead. Bohan Dixon’s defence splitting pass found Hardy who rounded Crook before slotting into an empty net.

Harrogate were still very much in the contest and Rhys Taylor had to be alert to palm a dipping cross over his own bar with Leesley closing in.

The Coasters held on to record their second 2-1 home victory in a week and maintain their four point lead over Darlington, moving ten points clear of Harrogate in the process.

AFC Fylde: Taylor, Holmes, Kennedy, Langley (C), Collins (Bradley – 46’), Bond, Hardy (Blinkhorn – 84’) Finley, Rowe, Dixon (Daniels – 77’), C. Hughes

AFC Fylde subs: Baker, M. Hughes

Harrogate Town: Crook, Colbeck (C), Turner, Platt, Shiels, Parker, Thanoj, Gascoigne, Day (Brooksby – 70’), Robertson (Chilaka – 73’), Leesley (Webb-Foster – 83’)

Harrogate Town subs: Ellis, Stewart