Danny Rowe’s solitary goal was enough to seal a crucial three points in an entertaining game at high-flying Dover Athletic.
On their longest away day of the season – a 650-mile round trip – the Coasters limited their hosts to very little with goalkeeper Jay Lynch pulling off a couple of sensational saves.
Rowe’s eleventh National League goal of the season in the 78th minute put Fylde in control and they held out for an impressive victory on the south coast.
Manager Dave Challinor made two changes from the side that beat Torquay seven days previous with Sam Finley and 17-year-old Serhat Tasdemir replacing Henry Jones and Jonny Smith in midfield.
The hosts made the brighter start in freezing conditions, striker Ryan Bird nodding straight into the arms of Lynch after Mitch Pinnock had broken down the left.
Andy Bond hit back with the chance at the other end however his strike suffered a similar fate, landing comfortably into the goalkeepers arms.
Coasters defender George Edmundson had a lucky escape on the quarter-hour when he misjudged his clearance in the six yard box with Bird closing in and was grateful for Lynch’s intervention.
Top scorer Rowe made his first impact on the game midway through the half, twisting and turning on the edge of the box, before rifling his shot from the angle at Mitch Walker. The frontman stung the palms of the Dover stopper moments later as the Coasters began to turn the screw.
With the visitors well on top, the unlikely figure of Edmundson chanced his arm from distance and had the crowd on their feet as his fierce effort fizzed inches wide of the top corner.
The hosts were a whisker from taking the lead shortly after the break when Manny Parry’s flicked header found Bird lurking at the back post but the towering frontman stabbed his effort over the bar from point blank range.
Fylde responded with their best opportunity of the match so far. Zaine Francis-Angol did well to beat full-back Loui Fazakerley and tee up Finley, and although the Coasters captain hit the target, Walker was equal to his powerful attempt.
The match was becoming an end-to-end affair and this time it was Dover’s turn to threaten. Bird drew a fantastic reaction save from Lynch before Giancarlo Gallifuoco headed narrowly over in the aftermath.
The chances continued to flow and Finley was unfortunate to see his 20 yard lob drift a foot over the bar.
Fylde stopper Lynch pulled off the save of the afternoon with 15 minutes to play when he kept a strong hand to deny Bird who looked certain to score from just inside the area. The keeper was called into action again soon after, palming away Mitch Brundle’s 25 yard free-kick.
The deadlock was finally broken with just over 10 minutes to play and it was that man again. Rowe looked to have spurned his shooting opportunity on the edge of the area, however he picked the pocket of Parry and slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Substitute Matt Blinkhorn had claims for a penalty waved away in the dying moments when he was felled by Gallifuoco when in on goal, however referee Alan Dale wasn’t interested by his protests.
Dover Athletic: Walker, Ilesanmi, Gallifuoco, Parry, Essam, Brundle, Pinnock, Fazakerley (Deen-Conteh 84), Nortey (Jeffrey 67), Alabi (Daniel 23), Bird.
Subs not used: Richards, Okosieme.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Edmundson, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Finley (J Taylor 88), Tasdemir (Smith 61), Mangan, Rowe (Blinkhorn 85).
Subs not used: Grand, Jones.
Ref: Alan Dale