AFC Fylde remain in the National League play-off places despite a disappointing 1-0 defeat at struggling Maidstone United.

Stones midfielder Blair Turgott capitalised on Simon Grand’s first-half mistake to score the only goal of the game.

The Coasters drop to fifth in the league standings ahead of next weekend’s penultimate game against Solihull Moors.

Manager Dave Challinor was forced into one change from the side that came from behind to beat Torquay in midweek with James Hardy replacing Sam Finley in the centre of the park.

Simon Grand almost gifted the hosts a goal inside the opening minute when he dawdled on the ball and lost out to Turgott, however the Fylde defender was relieved to see the resultant throughball ushered out for a goal kick by Luke Burke.

Hardy got himself into a dangerous position at the other end and fizzed in a low cross that was just out of reach of three white shirts. 

Burke was perhaps a little lucky not to concede a penalty on seven minutes when he eased Michael Phillips off the ball, and although a roar went up from the crowd, referee Alan Dale was having none of it. 

The bright start to the match continued in the sunshine and Danny Rowe was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring a minute later when he received the ball from Jack Muldoon on the edge of the area before seeing a left-footed strike deflected inches around the post.

Home striker Andre Coker was causing the Fylde backline real problems, firstly hitting a volley straight at Jay Lynch before beating three men down the left and winning a corner.

Chances were flowing for both sides as Andy Bond lashed a wicked strike from the angle into the side-netting.

The opener arrived midway through the half and the Coasters were the masters of their own downfall. Grand’s loose ball across the backline was gleefully intercepted by Turgott who skipped clean through and slotted a low strike past Lynch.

Coker was close to doubling the lead on the half-hour when he burst past Grand and then Tunnicliffe before he was thwarted by the feet of Lynch.

Lynch was certainly the busier of the two stoppers and had to be alert when Coker slipped in Jamar Loza, producing a strong hand at the near post to keep out the winger.

Tunnicliffe was next to keep the rampant hosts at bay, nodding Phillips’ goalbound header off the line.

After a spell of dominance from the home side, Fylde broke quickly through Jonny Smith who ghosted past his man, however his strike was blocked at the near post by Lee Worgan. 

Phillips’, denied moments earlier, was on hand at the other end to clear substitute Jake Lawyer’s volley off the Stones’ line.

Smith fired a warning shot shortly after the break when he beat the offside trap to race through and cleared the bar by inches with a stinging drive.

The Bristol City loanee was growing into the game as his left-footed effort from 20 yards span off a defender and around the post. Rowe’s strike from the resultant corner suffered a similar fate as the visitors started to dominant.

Fylde stopper Lynch pulled off one of the saves of the season when he got a hand to Joe Anderson’s thumping free-kick to turn the ball onto the post, much to the disbelief of everyone in the ground.

The visitors were controlling the play as the match wore on, but it was the hosts that spurned a glorious chance to effectively secure the points when Turgott jumped onto Tunnicliffe’s slip but failed to pick out Coker with the goal at his mercy.

Youngster Serhat Tasdemir replaced Rowe as Challinor looked to freshen up his tired troops and the 17-year-old tricked his way into a shooting position inside the area however it was well blocked on its way to goal.

Maidstone spent the dying embers of the match holding the ball in the corner and not allowing the Coasters to get out – the one occasion it did, Greg Luer found himself open in the centre, although he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and once again went back to the corner flag.

Maidstone: Worgan, Hare, Finney, Wynter, Loza (Wraight 82), Lewis, Anderson, Turgott, Havilland, Coker (Luer 87), Phillips (Reason 80). 

Subs not used: Prestedge, Paxman

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand (Lawlor 29), Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Hardy (Blinkhorn 67), Muldoon, Smith, Rowe (Tasdemir 72).

Subs not used: Jones, Taylor.

Att: 2254 (39 away)

Ref: Alan Dale