Ilkeston 0, AFC Fylde 1. AFC Fylde secured a historic FA Cup first-round tie at home to Accrington Stanley with victory over Ilkeston at the New Manor Ground in lst night’s fourth qualifying round replay.
A second-minute goal by striker Adam Farrell was enough to see the Coasters through but it was a real battle.
The replay took place barely 48 hours after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Kellamergh Park, which the Derbyshire side finished strongly.
Fylde boss Dave Challinor made one change to his line-up, which saw Jack Dorney replace Harry Winter in midfield.
The game couldn’t have started any better for the visitors. Adam Sumner and Joe Booth exchanged passes in the Coasters half before pacy forward Michael Barnes broke down the left, beat his marker Dan Partridge and cut the ball back for Farrell to steer home from the edge of the penalty area.
The home side huffed and puffed to get back into the game but the final telling ball was letting them down.
Fylde broke again down the right and Steve Haslam crossed for Farrell but the scorer’s header flashed inches over.
Ilkeston keeper Ashley Timms, who looked nervy all night, sent a poor clearance kick straight to Farrell 40 yards out but he didn’t react quickly enough.
The home side enjoyed a lengthy spell of possession after the half-hour mark, James Reid going closest when he hit the side-netting.
The Coasters had further chances in the run-up to half-time, Dorney and Haslam both firing wide from distance.
The home side threw the perverbial kitchen sink at the Coasters in the second half but the visitors’ defence was superbly marshalled by the returning Glen Steel.
Reid had a 20-yarder well saved by Ben Hinchliffe, then Ilkeston’s Saturday scorer Dereece Gardner had a shot blocked in the penalty area and cleared by Adam Sumner.
The Coasters always threatened on the counter-attack, and Michael Barnes sliced his shot inches wide at the back post after good build-up play by substitute Winter and Joe Booth.
The home side’s searching crosses aimed at big frontman Gary Ricketts weren’t quite coming off, though Fylde were relieved to see his shot deflected over following a scramble in the box.
Centre-half Steel went close to adding a second for Fylde but his header from Booth’s corner flew wide.
Daryll Thomas gave the home attack some fresh legs and looked to be Ilkeston’s most likely source of an equaliser, though Fylde defended bravely and Ricketts’ late header was well saved by Hinchliffe.
The final whistle brought relief and joy for Fylde, with the Accrington Stanley management team looking on.
Fylde Manager Dave Challinor was bursting with pride and said: “It’s a fantastic result. The lads have worked unbelievably hard against an Ilkeston side who are in a false position in the league, in my opinion.
“We had to defend resolutely in the second half and to come out on the right side of a result is fantastic for the club and the players. It’s also just deserts for all the hard work they have put in.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity for us as a squad and management team to test ourselves against League opposition, and a great day for everyone involved to look forward to.
“We said at the outset of this competition that the first round proper was an achievable objective, if we had a little bit of luck in terms of performance and the draw. We have achieved it, and now we have an opportunity to show what we can do – hopefully in front of a TV audience too!”
FYLDE: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Steel, Barnes B, Booth, Dorney (Winter), Farrell (Dean), Barnes M, Allen (Jarvis); not used: Tennant, Doughty, Carden, McCarthy