Stephen Crainey lashed home his first goal in Fylde colours as the Coasters returned to winning ways against Bradford Park Avenue.

The former Premier League ace crashed home the only goal of the game from 30 yards on the stroke of half-time to give the home side their first win in four games.

Dave Challinor made three changes to the side that was beaten 3-2 at the weekend by North Ferriby with midfielders Bohan Dixon, Matty Hughes and Danny Lloyd replacing Brad Barnes, James Hardy and Dion Charles.

It was the fresh-faced trio that fashioned the first chance of the match when Hughes raced down the right, squared for Dixon who in turn laid the ball off for Lloyd but his shot on the turn was easily collected by goalkeeper Ryan Jones.

The game looked an open affair from the off and Sam Finley found himself with space in the box but his effort was wide under heavy pressure. Fellow midfielder Richie Baker tried his luck from long range but took an unfortunate slip in the process and the resultant strike was tame.

Bradford offered little in terms of a goal threat in the first 20 minutes – a free-kick from Callum Chippendale that struck the wall their most dangerous opportunity.

Captain Simon Ainge had a similar effort ten minutes later but powered the kick from 25 yards wide of the right hand post.

Fylde were the width of the post away from taking the lead on 38 minutes when Danny Rowe launched a trademark thunderbolt free-kick from fully 35 yards but his low drive cannoned off the keeper’s right hand post. His next effort wasn’t quite a close as he curled a strike well wide of the same post.

The opening goal arrived in emphatic fashion on the stroke of half-time and it was an unlikely scorer for the Coasters. A ball into the box was headed clear by the Bradford backline only as far as Stephen Crainey who smashed a left-footed rocket into the top corner from 25 yards.

The elements set in after the break with the icy wind making play difficult for both sides and there was little in the way of goalscoring opportunities. Crainey fizzed in a cross to Rowe, who nodded on to Hughes, but the nippy winger couldn’t quite get his shot away. Caspar Hughes then almost caught out goalkeeper Jones with a cross that caught the wind and clipped the far post.

Rowe looked to extend the advantage shortly after the hour mark after brushing off his marker however his long range effort was wide of the far post. He had another attempt seconds later after Lloyd had broken through but his first time shot was over the bar as the Coasters started to take control.

Fylde were turning up the pressure and Baker hit one from the edge of the area that skipped narrowly wide of the right hand post. Lloyd was starting to look dangerous as the game entered the final 15 minutes, firstly smashing a shot over from the angle before flashing a left-footed attempt across the face of goal.

There was a nervy moment in the final minute of normal time when Reece Webb-Foster fired a vicious cross-shot into the Fylde box, but Tom Hannigan was on hand to clear the danger with a last ditch block.

Ainge volleyed a late attempt on the Coasters goal but it was high and wide and the hosts held on to move up to second in the league standings.


AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Langley, Hannigan, Crainey, Baker, Dixon, Finley, M. Hughes, Lloyd, Rowe.

Subs: Urwin, Barnes, Hardy, Charles, Blinkhorn.

Bradford: Jones, Patterson, Mather, Motley-Henry (66), Ainge, Qualter, Dickinson (66), Woodland, Wilkinson, Gordon (76), Chippendale.

Subs: Chilaka, Webb-Foster (66), Colley (66), St. Juste (76), Schofield.

Ref: Darren Strain

Att: 406