Torquay United vs AFC Fylde

National League
Tue 10th April 2018
Score: 1 - 3

Match Report

Two goals from defender Jordan Tunnicliffe secured a deserved 3-1 victory away at Torquay United and lifted AFC Fylde up to fourth in the National League table.

The Coasters were given an early scare when Brett Williams converted from the spot early into the game however Jack Muldoon’s leveller and Tunnicliffe’s double either side of the break sealed a fourth win on the spin for the visitors.

Midfielder James Hardy was the only players to miss out from Saturday’s victory over Sutton United, replaced on the wing by Muldoon.

The Coasters made a nightmare start in the driving rain, Zaine Francis-Angol skidding across the surface and taking out Jamie Reid right on the penalty spot. The ball was repositioned on the spot after the referee was given no choice and Williams cooly slotted into the bottom right-hand corner. 

Williams would have spectacularly doubled his and Torquay’s tally had Jay Lynch not clawed his curling effort straight out of the top corner.

After a slow start, the Coasters were starting to get their passing game going despite the difficult conditions and Muldoon had their first sight of goal when his shot on the turn was easily claimed by Ryan Clarke.

The visitors’ pressure was building and in-form Jonny Smith almost found himself clean through, but with a fourth goal in as many games in his sights, he was thwarted by a last-gasp challenge.

Their dominance paid dividends midway through the half. Danny Rowe let fly with a snapshot from 25 yards that deflected into the path of Muldoon, who lashed a first time effort into the bottom corner, albeit with a hint of offside.

Similarly to four days previous against Sutton, the comeback was complete within three minutes when the Coasters added a second. Finley’s corner from the right made it’s way through for the unmarked Tunnicliffe to nod into the far corner.

The rain was unrelenting, as was the Coasters authority, and Muldoon sliced one wide from 20 yards as the match approached half-time. 

Torquay looked to put their opposition under pressure in anyway they could after the break, preventing Lynch from taking goal kicks and almost made the most of one such poor clearance when Williams stuck from 40 yards, however the stopper was back on his line in time. 

Finley took aim with a similar effort moments later although there was too much on his ambitious effort and it landed within the diehard Fylde fans behind the goal. The Coasters captain fizzed another narrowly over as the visitors went for a third.

For all their huffing and puffing, the home side were struggling to create much at the top end of the pitch – Josh Gowling’s far post header that flashed just wide the closest they came as the hour mark passed.

Still well in the game, Torquay were beginning to knock on the door with just over 20 minutes to play and the crowd were on their feet as the ball fell to Connor Lemonheigh-Evans on the edge of the area, but slumped back into their seats as he skewed well wide. 

Challinor made a statement of intent, bringing off Rowe with 15 minutes to play as the Coasters aimed to shut-up shop as the aerial bombardment continued. McGinty headed over as the hosts launched another long ball into the box.

However, just as the Gulls were starting to spread their wings, Fylde struck with a sucker punch 12 minutes from time. Grand dug out a delightful cross from the left and there was defensive partner Tunnicliffe, once again free inside the six yard box, to cushion a header past Clarke. 

Williams drew the save of the match from Lynch almost straight from the restart when his powerful left-footed strike from 15 yards was turned over the bar. 

Finley almost put the icing on the cake in the dying stages when he fired a whisker over the bar and the Coasters held firm to strengthen their place in the play-offs.

Torquay: Clarke, Efete, Davis, McGinty, Gowling, Young, O’Sullivan (Dowling 70), Reid, Barnes (Keating 70), Lemonheigh-Evans, Williams.
Subs not used: Dorel, Sokolik, Balatoni.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Bond, Montrose, Finley, Muldoon (Tasdemir 81), Smith (Blinkhorn 86), Rowe (Lawlor 74). 
Subs not used: Taylor, Hardy.

Ref: Savvas Yianni
Att: 1,416 (38 away)