Stamford vs AFC Fylde

Sat 15th March 2014
Score: 1 - 3

Match Report

Att: 268

The Coasters moved up to second in the table thanks to a massive 3-1 victory away to Stamford on Saturday afternoon.

Matt Blinkhorn got the goal scoring underway in the fifth minutes before the home side re-grouped and leveled the tie through Ashley Robinson’s goal 20 minutes later.

Sean Cooke restored Fylde’s lead in the 31st minute and Andy Russell added the third five minutes before the break for a comfortable and well deserved half time lead.

The second half was fairly even but Danny Lloyd had a good chance to put the icing on the cake late in the game but couldn’t beat the last defender stretching for the ball in the six yard box but the game was all but won by that point.

And with results going their way elsewhere in the league, just three points separate them and league-leaders Chorley going into the final nine games of the campaign.

With the majority of the squad having travelled down the night before, Fylde got off to the best of starts and had a chance through Russell to take the lead in the third minute, but the big defender couldn’t keep his header on target.

The lead was found two minutes later as Michael Barnes beat the offside trap to race to the byline and cut back for Blinkhorn to side foot the ball into the net from six yards out.

Richie Allen then missed a couple of decent chances to double his side’s lead just minutes later which would have capped off a dominant opening ten minutes from the visitors.

Stamford, managed by former Gladiators TV show “Champion of Champions”, David Staff, started to settle into the game and had their first shot on goal inside 12 minutes – albeit a 40 yard strike that was sliced well wide by Ashley Robinson.

But as Fylde continued to assert their dominance on the game, Stamford somehow found an equaliser against the run of play.

Bradley Barnes was muscled off the ball deep inside the opponent’s half and within seconds, a slick passing move down the right hand side saw the ball played to Robinson who volleyed first time from 15 yards into the bottom corner of Ben Hinchliffe’s net on 25 minutes.

Thankfully for Fylde boss Dave Challinor, his side didn’t drop their heads but continued to go in search of that second goal and were rewarded six minutes later through when some poor defending around the six yard box allowed Cooke to slide in and touch the loose ball over the line.

And then with five minutes to go till the break, it was 3-1 when some further poor defending from the home side allowed Russell time to turn and shoot into the bottom corner of the goal.

Legs began to tire quickly in the second half as the game was played on a difficult surface and neither side created a lot of clear-cut chances for further goals.

On 52 minutes substitute Danny Lloyd almost had a tap-in of his own but was thwarted by a last ditch tackle from a defender just six yards out as Blinkhorn’s cross had keeper Will Jones well beaten.

Then, with an hour on the clock, Stamford were unlucky not to reduce the deficit when Shawn Richards raced through and trickled a shot past Hinchliffe only for Dave Hankin to track back and sweep the ball off the line.

Danny Lloyd saw his free kick caught comfortably by Jones on 66 minutes before Nabil Shariff should have done better with his shot 14 minutes from time but he fired it straight at Hinchliffe after finding space to shoot on the edge of the area.

Harry Winter probably should have gone with his head rather than try an audacious volley to reach another good Blinkhorn cross in the final minute which saw the ball end up out of play as he couldn’t get anything on it.

Dave Challinor commended his squad after the game saying: “It was a good, professional away performance in all honesty.

“We gave them a little bit of a leg up with their equaliser but we rallied and went in at half time with the 3-1 lead.

“We needed to be aware in the second half that the next goal would be important and that we needed to start properly and not let up and let them back into the game.

“But we saw out the game comfortably, had a couple of chances ourselves, and on a difficult surface.”

He added: “The goals were going to be scored by mistakes and it was difficult to tear teams apart but I’m sure next week will be a completely different game.”

Coming up next is the game at the Reebok Stadium on Monday night where The Coasters will face off against league-leaders Chorley for the right to be crowned Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy Winners.

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin, Sumner, Langley, Russell, B. Barnes (C), M. Barnes, Booth (C. Hughes 75), Blinkhorn, Cooke (Winter 68), Allen (Lloyd 36); Subs not used: Denson, Mullen.