Three quick-fire goals in five first-half minutes earned AFC Fylde a comfortable pre-season victory over Runcorn Town.
Despite the searing heat, the Coasters fired out of the blocks and early strikes from Danny Rowe, Jordan Wynne and James Hardy gave the visitors an unassailable lead. A second goal from Rowe after the break and another from Richie Baker sealed the result, however the hosts did manage to nick a consolation goal late on.
Star striker Rowe had the ball in the back of the net inside the opening five minutes when he lifted the ball over goalkeeper Louie Makin, but he was adjudged to have fouled his man in the build up. Trialist Wynne fired over a sighter moments later that flew well over from 25 yards.
Wynne was looking dangerous in the early stages and his cut-back found fellow midfielder Hardy eight yards from goal but the goalkeeper was equal to his first time strike.
The visitors duly broke the deadlock on 16 minutes. Sam Finley was brought down 30 yards from goal and Rowe struck a low drive into the bottom left hand corner.
Josh Langley thought he had doubled the lead less than 60 seconds later when he headed home at the far post, however the linesman thought otherwise.
Fylde didn’t have to wait long to grab a second goal when Wynne found himself clean through with the simple task of slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Two minutes later and it was three – this time Hardy beat his man inside the area, shifted the ball on to his right foot and slammed home.
Goalkeeper Makin was called upon twice in quick succession and did well to keep out two vicious strikes from the goal hungry Rowe.
The hosts were presented with their first opportunity of the match on the half-hour mark when Thomas Rowlands raced through but Fylde stopper Liam Sharpe got down well to claim at the winger’s feet.
Finley launched a late strike at the Runcorn goal from distance but the home stopper held on well as the half-time whistle blew.
A slow start to the second half was brought to life with a fine solo goal from Rowe on 55 minutes. The frontman nutmegged his marker as he cut in from the left wing and side-footed past the helpless goalkeeper.
The Coasters were out of sight minutes later when a cross from the right found Baker who glanced a header past Makin when unmarked in the area.
The midfielder looked to seal his brace shortly after the hour but his terrific drive from fully 25 yards drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.
Runcorn fashioned a rare opportunity with 20 minutes to play when David Forbes hit a sublime free-kick that Sharpe superbly clawed out of the top corner and around the post.
Some fine play almost resulted in a sixth for the Coasters when Baker’s slide-rule pass found Matt Dudley, however the young midfielder was narrowly off target with an improvised strike towards the top corner.
The hosts had a consolation goal on 75 minutes when the lively Aaron Rey rounded Sharpe and took his time before blasting the ball into the back of the net with a hint of frustration.
Full-back Casper Hughes – moved into central midfield in the second period – was keen to get in on the act and wasn’t far off with a rasping effort from the edge of the box.
Runcorn Town: Makin, Pickering, Holt, James, Shephard, Dures, Rowlands, Irlam, Rey, Holt, Forbes.
AFC Fylde: Sharpe, C. Hughes, Langley (Baker 46), Williams (Collins 50), Sumner, Bond (Dudley 50), Finley (Crainey) , Wynne (Holmes 50), Hardy (Hassell 46), Daniels, Rowe (Bove 50).