Ten-man AFC Fylde sent shockwaves through the National League with a seven-goal mauling of third-placed Aldershot Town.
Having already put five past promotion-hopefuls Tranmere Rovers and six past league leaders Macclesfield Town, Dave Challinor’s high-flyers went one better with a sensational rout at Mill Farm.
Danny Rowe’s perfect hat-trick inside 20 minutes set the tone for the match, alongside a stunning strike from Sam Finley and an early equaliser from Josh McQuoid.
Simon Grand made it five on the stroke of half-time before a second from Finley and a special strike from Jack Muldoon rounded off an unbelievable afternoon for the hosts.
Challinor made two changes from the side that beat promotion-rivals Dover Athletic a fortnight ago, with goalscorers that day James Hardy and Serhat Tasdemir replacing Jason Taylor and Henry Jones in midfield.
The hosts got off to a blistering start in the drizzle at Mill Farm, opening the scoring inside two minutes. Finley picked out James Hardy 20 yards from goal and Rowe practically barged his teammate off the ball before slapping a strike past a helpless Aldershot stopper Jake Cole.
Much to the frustration of Challinor, their lead was short-lived with the visitors back on level terms just three minutes later. Josh McQuoid got himself goal side of Jordan Tunnicliffe and cleverly poked an effort into the opposite corner of the goal.
The goals continued to flow and the Coasters found themselves back ahead with barely ten minutes on the clock. Finley, integral in the opener, took a touch 25 yards from goal before launching a stunning strike into the top left-hand corner.
It could have been three second later had Cheye Alexander not somehow cleared Grand’s bullet header off the line.
However, there wasn’t long to wait for a third. Muldoon floated in a delicious cross from the right that was expertly headed into the corner by Rowe.
There was just no stopping the league’s top scorer and he sensationally secured his treble less than 60 seconds later. Hardy played the prolific frontman though just inside the left of the box and he made no mistake with a precise low effort into the opposite bottom corner.
Adam McDonnell looked to hit back for the shell-shocked visitors with a free-kick that whistled narrowly wide of Jay Lynch’s left-hand post.
The game eventually started to settle with much of the action in the centre of the park. Aldershot spurned a glorious chance to pull on back when Scott Rendell’s effort at the back post was well blocked by Lynch and Fabian Robert’s header on the rebound was narrowly wide with the goal at his mercy.
Tasdemir and Muldoon both had chances to pile the misery on their opponents, however the former smashed a shot straight at Cole whilst the latter launched one over the goalkeeper and the bar.
The home side rounded off a perfect half with a fifth goal on the stroke of half-time. Finley whipped in a corner from the right and Grand powered past his man and nodded home at the near post to seal a dream 45 minutes.
Fylde picked up from where they left off after the break with Muldoon fizzing an effort a whisker over the bar from 25 yards.
Robert tested Lynch at his near post soon after the interval but the Fylde stopper was equal to his low strike.
Rowe was on the prowl for more and almost found a way through when he nicked the ball past the on-rushing Cole however Will Evans was back in the nick of time to clear the danger.
It just kept on getting better and better for the Coasters as they made it six on the hour. Finley advanced towards the edge of the area and whilst a ball wide to Muldoon looked a better option, the midfielder crashed another stunning strike in off the crossbar.
However, his afternoon very quickly turned sour when he was bizarrely shown a second yellow card in the celebrations.
Substitute Luke Burke attempted to break clear and although his was hacked down by Lewis Kinsella, referee Andrew Miller played a good advantage allowing Muldoon to race through and lift a delightful effort over Cole that nestled into the back of the net for an incredible seventh goal.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Hardy (Burke 58), Muldoon, Tasdemir (Chettle 67), Rowe (Smith 67).
Subs not used: Jones, Blinkhorn.
Aldershot: Cole, Alexander, Evans, Fowler, Kinsella, Oyeleke, McQuiod, McDonnell (Gallagher 46), Rowe (Taylor 46), Robert (McClure 55), Rendell.
Subs not used: Fenlon, Reynolds.
Ref: Andrew Miller