REPORT: HEREFORD 2 – 1 AFC FYLDE. SAT 12TH DECEMBER 2020
A Lenell John-Lewis strike in each half did the damage as Hereford earned a 2-1 win to send Fylde back up north with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Coasters arrived at Edgar Street on the back of a twelve-day break from competitive football; their last game being the dramatic 3-3 draw with Bradford (Park Avenue) under the Mill Farm lights.
For the Hereford trip, Nick Chadwick made an array of changes to the starting line-up that faced Bradford, putting Nathan Pond back in following an injury lay-off and placing David Perkins into the heart of the midfield after his three-game suspension had been served. Nathan Shaw also returned to the team, seeing winger, Luke Brennan , drop to the bench.
The visitors started the game brightly, with Alex Whitmore coming close to netting his first goal of the season after latching onto an inviting Danny Philliskirk cross. The defender arrived at the back post completely unmarked, but didn’t connect cleanly with the volley.
It didn’t take long for Fylde to get their noses in front, though. David Perkins was the man that gave The Coasters a dream start after 7 minutes, when his strike somehow found its way past Brandon Hall in the Hereford goal. Ben Tollit’s free-kick wasn’t dealt with properly by the Hereford defence, allowing Philliskirk to tee up his midfield partner to fire home with the help of a wicked deflection.
Moments later, Liam Nolan was presented with a glorious opportunity to double his team’s lead but the midfielder dragged his volley wide of the mark from eight-yards out.
Hereford began to grow into the game thereafter, and The Coasters took their foot off the gas after the early onslaught of pressure.
On the half-hour mark, it took some heroic defending from Nathan Pond to prevent Kennedy Digie from heading home an in-swinging corner – the skipper somehow getting his head to the ball before the onrushing Digie.
With 31 minutes on the clock, some terrific defensive work from Danny Philliskirk gave Kurt Willoughby the chance to slot past Brandon Hall in the Hereford goal but the keeper got down well to block the striker’s left-footed strike.
Then came the moment that halted The Coasters’ dominance, as Lenell John-Lewis outmuscled Luke Conlan on the corner of the six-yard box and somehow found the bottom corner from a tight angle.
It seemed to inject some belief into the Hereford team that, up until that stage, had struggled to forge any clear openings.
HALF TIME: Hereford 1-1 AFC Fylde
The Coasters began the second-half as they did the first, with intent and purpose.
Pond, up from defence, almost got on the end of a Nathan Shaw cross on 50 minutes, but it was John-Lewis who was continuing to cause havoc at the other end of the pitch.
On 59 minutes, it was he who grabbed his second goal of the game and the eventual winner, expertly volleying the ball past Neal after a Daniel Jones cross wasn’t cleared.
With 20 minutes left to play, Nathan Shaw produced AFC Fylde’s best moment in the second half. The young, Blackpool-loanee went in search of a response, cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot and striking an effort towards goal, but Brandon Hall was on hand to dive across to his right and palm away for a corner.
Although Nathan Pond joined the Coasters attack and long balls were pumped forward, it was Hereford who looked the most dangerous on the counter-attack.
It took a fantastic late save by Chris Neal to keep the scoreline at 2-1, with John-Lewis involved again in a crowded penalty area.
The final whistle brought an end to an under-par performance, but Nick Chadwick and his team will now be aiming to get back to winning ways when they travel to Curzon Ashton on Tuesday evening in the Second Round of the FA Trophy.
FULL TIME: Hereford 2 – 1 AFC Fylde