Ten-men AFC Fylde made it four wins on the bounce on Bank Holiday Monday, with a deserved 2-1 victory over local rivals Southport FC at Mill Farm.

The Coasters withstood a late Southport onslaught to maintain their long unbeaten home record, thanks to goals from Stephen Dobbie and Joe Piggott, after Jordan Archer put the visitors ahead and Ben Tollitt was red carded for dangerous play.

Jim Bentley surprisingly named three changes to the side that defeated Hereford at Edgar Street on Saturday, with Liam Nolan, Sam Osborne and Stephen Dobbie coming into the team in place of David Perkins, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson and Nick Haughton, who all dropped to the bench.

Fylde began the match in confident fashion, clearly still on a high after Saturday’s convincing 4-1 away win, and it was Luke Burke who was driving them forward in the early stages. Burke’s dangerous cross after four minutes just evaded the head of Joe Piggott who was unmarked inside the six-yard box.

Moments later, Dobbie almost found the breakthrough, turning and striking towards goal but Adam Anson did well to block from close range.

At the other end, Jordan Archer found space in the centre of the pitch and hit a right-footed effort over the crossbar. On 21 minutes, however, Archer found his shooting boots and gave Southport the lead. Some slick football from the visitors allowed Archer to fire past Chris Neal from just inside the area, despite the best efforts of Alex Whitmore.

The goal seemed to wake Jim Bentley’s side up, and Stephen Dobbie provided an instant reply three minutes later. Ben Tollitt did well to work his way to the byline and stand a cross up, and it was the experienced Dobbie who calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner to level things.

The game settled down at 1-1, with both teams trying to retain possession. Coasters captain, Whitmore, was presented with a glorious chance to give his side the lead, but to his disappointment he couldn’t steer his free header on target.

As the game crept towards the half-time interval, there was some controversy as Ben Tollitt slid to dispossess Charles Oliver who broke forward. Although it seemed a fair challenge from the press box, the referee deemed it to be dangerous play and awarded the Coasters number 7 a straight red card.

Southport had their tails up, and Josh Hmami tried to take advantage of the extra man, but his free kick from distance failed to trouble Neal.

HT : AFC Fylde 1-1 Southport

Just eight minutes into the second-half, Joe Piggott fired the Coasters ahead, with an almost identical finish to the one he scored at Hereford at the weekend.

On the hour, Fylde added some fresh legs by bringing off Piggott and replacing him with former Southport forward Jack Sampson. Jim Bentley seemingly introduced the big target man to help defend set-pieces, but it didn’t stop Anson from almost volleying home a corner with 64 minutes gone.

Down the other end, it took a spectacular stop from Cameron Mason to deny Osborne his first competitive Coasters goal.

Shortly after, Hmami, who had been a threat all afternoon, almost drew the visitors level when he flashed a cross-shot past the far post.

With both sets of fans cheering their team on in the final ten minutes, the game became a frantic affair, mostly with Fylde camped in their 18-yard box. If it wasn’t for the Coaster stopper, Chris Neal, Southport would have levelled at the death, but his last-gasp save on the goal-line helped Fylde on their way to another hard-fought victory, and kept them at the top of the National League North table.

FT: AFC Fylde 2-1 Southport

AFC Fylde: Neal, Burke, Whitmore ©, Stott, Conlan, Nolan (Perkins 77’), Joyce, Tollitt, Osborne, Dobbie (Haughton 69’), Piggott (Sampson 61’).

Subs Not Used: Jones, Holland-Wilkinson

Southport: Mason, Tharme, C.Doyle, Anson ©, Oliver, Bainbridge, J.Doyle, Hmami, Vassallo, Buckley-Ricketts (Carver 60’), Archer (Watson 77’).

Subs Not Used: McMillan, Woods, Munro.

Referee: John Mulligan