Ten-man AFC Fylde sit three points clear at the top of the National League North after holding on for a huge three points against FC United of Manchester.

Former Fylde striker Harry Winter opened the scoring for the home side however goals from Danny Rowe and Bohan Dixon turned the game on its head before Sam Finley was dismissed on the stoke of half-time.

Top scorer Rowe added a decisive third after the break and whilst George Thomson pulled one back, the Coasters clung on to the points.   

FC United almost got off to the perfect start when Dale Johnson shrugged off Josh Langley and slotted past Tony Thompson in the Fylde goal however the frontman was adjudged fouled the Coasters captain.

The hosts were making a blistering start to the match as Thompson tested the Coasters stopper with a stinging left footed strike from 20 yards.

Fylde hit back with a glorious chance inside a frantic opening five minutes when Andy Bond whipped in a delightful cross from the left but James Hardy’s first time effort was tipped onto the post by Jonny Diba.

FC United took the lead on 12 minutes when Dale Johnson again got the better of Langley and Winter had the simple task of rolling the ball past Thompson from 10 yards.

However, the visitors were back on level terms just two minutes later and it was a familiar face that did the damage. Hardy delivered an inch-perfect ball into the box and Rowe rose highest to glance a header past Diba.

Not content with grabbing the equaliser, Fylde completed a quick-fire turnaround on 19 minutes. A quick throw in from Bond allowed Hardy to slip in Dixon and the towering midfielder finished with aplomb.

Finley let fly with a rasping drive from 25 yards after some neat play as the Coasters began to impose their dominance on the match. Rowe almost added his second on the half-hour mark but this time his header was off target from eight yards out.

The hosts went close to levelling shortly before half-time when James Hooper raced down the left however his vicious left-footed strike flew over the bar.

Shortly before the break, the visitors were reduced to ten men in ridiculous fashion. Finley misplaced a pass and, in frustration, kicked a water bottle into the crowd. After a moment’s consultation with his assistant, the referee brandished a red card.

The Coasters looked like they would be under the cosh for the second half however Rowe had other ideas. The front man beat two markers, shifted the ball on to his right foot and fired low into the far corner from 15 yards.

FC United were launching cross after cross into the Fylde box and Dale Tonge was close when he connected with one at the back post as the hosts began to build the pressure. Substitute Tom Greaves was a whisker away from latching onto another but the Coasters were standing firm.

Fylde fashioned a rare attack of their own and Rowe was only a foot wide with thunderbolt from fully 30 yards. Dixon tested Diba a moment later with an effort towards the far corner but the keeper got down well low to his left.

The hosts did eventually reduce the deficit with just over ten minutes to play, Thomson curling home with a fine first-time finish from the edge of the box.

The crosses and long balls continued to rain down into the Coasters’ box however the backline, marshalled by Langley, were standing strong. Greaves was agonisingly close with a flicked header as the hosts searched for an equaliser in the dying moments.

Former Fylde trainee Jason Gilchrist was next to try his luck but Thompson was well behind his curling strike.

FC United: Diba, Tonge, Chantler, Kay, Eckersley, Ashworth, Hooper (Gilchrist 50), Sheridan, Johnson (Lowe 71), Thomson, Winter (Greaves 62).

Subs not used: Wolfenden, Williams.

AFC Fylde: Thompson, Holmes, Langley, Williams (Collins 57), Kennedy, C. Hughes, Bond, Finley, Hardy (Baker 62), Dixon (M. Hughes 90), Rowe.

Subs not used: Jennings, Newell.

Att: 2,284

Ref: Anthony Tankard