AFC Fylde were crowned National League North champions following a clinical 3-0 victory away at Boston United.

Top scorer Danny Rowe opened the scoring from the penalty spot before doubling his tally shortly after the break. Substitute Matty Hughes put the icing on the cake before the final whistle brought wild celebrations from the Fylde players and supporters.

The Coasters will now enjoy trophy celebrations next weekend at Mill Farm against Worcester City.

Manager Dave Challinor went with a different approach for the game, preferring two forwards for the first time this season. Matt Blinkhorn partnered the prolific Rowe up front whilst Brendon Daniels returned out wide.

Rowe had the first clear cut opportunity of the match after Blinkhorn was felled 25 yards from goal but his curling free-kick could only find the side netting.

Boston forward Nat Brown tested Rhys Taylor in the Fylde goal with a low strike shortly after in a lively opening to proceedings.

After a stop-start spell, Rowe latched on to a throw in and rolled his man but couldn’t get a decent connection on the shot and it was comfortable for Pilgrims stopper Ross Durrant.

Dan Bradley glanced a header narrowly wide on the 20-minute mark from Tom Kennedy’s telling cross as the visitors began to turn up the pressure.

The Coasters were dealt a blow half-an-hour in when Bradley was forced off with an injury. Bohan Dixon was the man to replace him.

Neither side had developed a real rhythm to their play and although Durrant flapped at a couple of corners ten minutes before the interval, Fylde were struggling to make a breakthrough.

However, the game sparked to life when Fylde were awarded a glorious chance to take the lead. Daniels did fantastically well to beat Kalern Thomas in the area before being hauled down. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and marksman Rowe made light work of the penalty, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.

Fylde started the second half brightly and Daniels flashed a vicious strike agonisingly wide of the far post after being laid off by Rowe on the edge of the area.

The Boston threat was limited to long balls into the box in the main which were dealt with well by the Coasters’ backline.

The decisive second goal duly arrived on the hour mark and it was a record breaker for the visitors. Matty Hughes, on seconds earlier as a substitute, lifted a delightful ball over the top to Rowe who took a touch before stroking the ball past Durrant into the far corner. Fylde’s 104th league goal of the season, signalling a new National League North record.    

The game was put to bed 15 minutes from time when Hughes himself got onto the scoresheet. Andy Bond’s cross from the left found Hughes in the centre and he swept the ball home at the first time of asking.

Jay Rollins really should have pulled one back for the hosts when he was picked out superbly by Liam Adams from the left, but Boston’s leading goalscorer headed over from point blank range.

Rowe fizzed one over as the Coasters saw out the final minutes with ease and now look forward to the trophy presentation next Saturday against Worcester City.


Boston: Durrant, Thomas, Yeomans, Hilliard (Hawley 69), Batchelor, Brown, Chapman, Briscoe (Briscoe 67), Rollins, Dieseruvwe (Bishop 79), Broadhead.

Subs not used: Vince, Gatter.

AFC Fylde: Taylor, C. Hughes (Baker 81), Langley, Collins, Kennedy, Bradley (Dixon 31), Bond, Morgan, Daniels (M. Hughes 59), Blinkhorn, Rowe.

Subs not used: Thompson, K. Kennedy.

Att: 1,255 (128)

Ref: Richard Maxwell