AFC Fylde 0-2 Halifax Town
Brown 38′, Birch OG 41
Halifax Town recorded a 2-0 win at AFC Fylde on the last day of the season, against a Fylde side that had made nine changes with one eye on the playoffs.
Only Reid and Walters remained from the side that won at Salford City, with Dave Challinor having alluded to the incoming squad rotation earlier in the week.
The Shaymen started with the higher intensity, and their high press forced the makeshift Fylde side into repeated mistakes, with the speed of Devante Rodney making things happen.
Their early pressure was almost made to pay, as Preston’s pinpoint free-kick delivery found Brown at the back post, who nodded it into the path of Maher, who bundled it home.
However, the flag was up on the far side for offside, and Fylde were given an early warning of what was to come.
The Coasters had the chance to take the lead, after Ash Hemmings deep cross was almost turned home past his own keeper by Nathan Clarke, but Johnson was on great form to deny him.
Both Hemmings and Crawford tested Johnson with free-kicks, and whilst they weren’t saved convincingly, they never really seemed to be a goal threat.
Both sides continued to see plenty of the ball, but it was the visitors who would open the scoring, in an all too familiar manner.
Preston once more sent a fantastic free-kick into the box, and rather than nod it across goal this time, Brown aimed for goal, and nestled his header beyond Russ Griffiths in the Fylde net.
It was a disappointing way to concede, especially given the carbon copy chance of which the Coasters were let off for just 15 minutes before.
Just three minutes after the restart Halifax had all but put the game beyond the reach of the Coasters, after Manny Duku’s excellent cross was turned past his own keeper by Arlen Birch.
The excellent whipped cross seemed to deflect off Time Odusina, and gave Birch little chance to react, as it ricocheted past Griffiths.
Serhat Tasdemir replaced Lewis Walters at half-time, as Fylde looked to try and inject some pace into the game.
Arlen Birch had a great moment to make amends for his own-goal after Nick Haughton’s short corner left him with acres of space in the box, but his shot was cleared off of the Halifax goal line.
The Shaymen could have scored from this very counter, as it quickly became 4 v 3, only for the speed of Odusina to help him dispossess Devante Rodney.
The Coasters were limited to shots from long range mostly, with Haughton, Rowe and Hardy not giving Johnson too many tough saves to make.
Cameron King burst through on goal with the chance to put the game to bed for Halifax, but his effort was well saved by Russ Griffiths on this occasion.
The Coasters had two players withdrawn through injury, as Tom Brewitt was replaced on 68 minutes by Jordan Tunnicliffe before Serhat Tasdemir had to be withdrawn late on, unable to walk by himself.
In the dying moments, James Hardy was presented with a golden opportunity to net against the team he was on loan with last month – but after rounding the keeper, his shot was cleared off of the line.
“It wasn’t how we wanted to finish obviously,” said Fylde manager Dave Challinor.
“But being really honest, I would swap today’s results to know important players were fit.”
AFC Fylde: Griffiths, Hemmings, Brewitt (Tunnicliffe 68’), Birch, Crawford, Philliskirk, Hardy, Haughton (Burke 81’), Walters (Tasdemir 46’), Reid.
Subs unused: Bond, Rowe.
Halifax Town: Johnson, Clarke, Brown (C), Kosylo, King, Berrett, Preston, Maher, Duku, Rodney, Skarz.
Subs unused: Rowley, Staunton, Edwards, Freedman, Gondoh.