The Coasters saw off a well-organised Bradford Park Avenue outfit at the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a second-half brace from Fylde captain Alex Whitmore.

Defender Whitmore chose the perfect time to grab his first goal of the season when he nodded his side into the lead six minutes into the second-half, and bagged his second goal of the game with another composed header on the hour mark.

Jim Bentley made two changes to the side that started in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Kettering Town, giving Dan Pike his debut in place of the injured Luke Burke, and bringing experienced midfielder David Perkins in for Liam Nolan, who dropped to the bench. 

It took just four minutes for the visitors to spark into life, with Nick Haughton seeing his 30-yard free kick tipped round the post by Bradford PA stopper Jonny Saltmer.

Winger Sam Osborne, who caused problems all afternoon, was then presented with a good chance to open his account for the club, but again Saltmer was on hand to save at his near post.

Debutant Dan Pike drove forward from full-back on seven minutes and saw his goal-bound strike blocked by Mitch Lund.

Soon after, Saltmer saved Osborne’s shot from a tight angle, following good play by Nick Haughton.

Mid-way through the first-half, Luke Joyce headed Haughton’s corner back into the danger zone, where Osborne hooked his shot straight at the goalkeeper from close-range.

The best chance of the first-half came the way of Jamie Stott and Alex Whitmore, but neither could stab home the opener from three-yards out after Haughton’s corner caused havoc inside the Bradford PA penalty area.

A dominant first-half drew to a close with Jack Sampson flicking Haughton’s wicked cross just over Saltmer’s crossbar.

HT: Bradford PA 0-0 AFC Fylde

The second period started much as the first ended, and Haughton almost broke the deadlock with a long-range effort that flew wide.

Moments later, the opener arrived through Coasters skipper Whitmore. Coming up for a corner, Haughton drilled the ball into the centre of the six-yard box and the defender thumped a header into the top left corner, giving his side a well-deserved advantage.

Whitmore netted his second just eight minutes after his first, meeting another Haughton delivery at the back post and, again, making no mistake with his head.

The hosts immediately looked for a way back into the game and came close five minutes later when Luke Rawson fired towards goal from seven yards out, but his powerful strike was somehow saved by Chris Neal.

Osborne continued to be a nuisance down the right and smartly worked room for himself to pull the trigger from the edge of the area, but his effort flew agonisingly wide of the far post.

BPA began to ramp up the tempo, with Neal having to keep his concentration to turn Windass’ 35-yard free kick round the post for a corner.

Ben Tollitt looked to extend Fylde’s advantage with seven minutes remaining, but Saltmer got down well to keep the winger’s low strike out.

The Coasters valiantly saw out the remainder of the match and Bentley will have been delighted to return to the top of the league table with what was a professional display from his injury-hit side.

FT: Bradford PA 0-2 AFC Fylde


Bradford Park Avenue: Saltmer, Ross, Windass, Marriott, Havern ©, Lund, Mottley-Henry, Guilfoyle (Downing 68’), Rawson, Odunston (Johnson 77’), Clee (Nowakowski 79’)

Subs Not Used: Toulson, Dockerty


AFC Fylde: Neal, Pike, Whitmore ©, Stott, Conlan, Joyce, Perkins, Osborne (Nolan 77’), Tollitt (Holland-Wilkinson 90’+2), Haughton (Robinson 87’), Sampson

Subs Not Used: Jones, Obi