AFC Fylde progressed through to the FA Cup First Round Proper, after a hard-fought 2-1 win against National League outfit, Altrincham, on Sunday afternoon.
A first-half strike from former Alty forward, Jordan Hulme, put The Coasters in the drivers seat heading into half-time, before Ben Tollitt’s 55th minute drive ensured Tom Peers’ tap-in was only a consolation.
AFC Fylde headed into Sunday’s FA Cup fixture in fine form, with five successive wins under their belts this campaign. Phil Parkinson’s Altrincham, however, were yet to record a victory since their promotion to the National League last season.
Jim Bentley made three changes from the side that lined up against Farsley Celtic 11 days ago, with Liam Nolan, Nathan Shaw and Kurt Willoughby, making way for David Perkins, Ben Tollitt and Jordan Hulme.
It didn’t take long for Bentley’s in-form men to find their groove, as Hulme managed to turn away from Ritchie Sutton and fire against the post after just four minutes.
Ben Tollitt then managed to find some space on the right-hand side after a quarter of an hour, but saw his shot fly just over Tony Thompson’s cross bar.
Fylde’s positive start to the game was disrupted on 22 minutes, when Coasters captain Nathan Pond went down with a groin injury and had to be substituted for new loanee Reagan Ogle.
The first half then flowed back and forth, without either team managing to carve out any clear-cut opportunities, until the ever-dangerous Jordan Hulme punished his former club with a clinical finish.
A short goal-kick by Tony Thompson was hunted down by Danny Philliskirk in midfield. Philliskirk’s endeavour was rewarded when he rolled the ball into an unmarked Hulme, providing him with time and space to stroke the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Hulme’s 40th minute strike separated the sides at half-time, and undoubtedly made Jim Bentley’s half-time team talk a little easier.
The second-half resumed where it had left off, with Fylde again searching for more goals.
On 55 minutes, right back, Luke Burke, unlocked Altrincham’s defence with a fantastic pass, giving Ben Tollitt the opportunity to extend Fylde’s lead. Tollitt’s first touch was neat, and his second was even better, unleashing a powerful drive which found the bottom left corner.
With the home team now leading by two goals to nil, Altrincham were forced to respond. They almost did just that with 58 minutes on the clock, when Tom Peers found some room in the penalty area but failed to hit the target.
One minute later though, Peers redeemed himself; a low ball in from the left wing was turned home by Alty’s lively forward.
The goal injected some life into the visitor’s, as Phil Parkinson began to instruct his players to play in a more direct manner.
For the remainder of the game, long balls were pumped forward into Fylde’s box, but – as has been the case so far this season – they Coasters back line coped admirably.
Two comfortable saves by Chris Neal in the closing stages were enough to kill all hopes of an Altrincham comeback.
The full-time whistle signalled another well-deserved victory for Jim Bentley’s side, who will now wait to see who they will face in the First Round of the FA Cup on Monday.