AFC Fylde 1 Curzon Ashton 2: Full report

Dion  Charles scores for Fylde
Dion Charles scores for Fylde

AFC Fylde let a half-time lead slip as they suffered a second consecutive 2-1 home defeat.

Dion Charles gave the Coasters a deserved interval lead, but two goals in three second-half minutes consigned the injury-hit hosts to a defeat which saw them drop a place to fifth in Vanarama National North.

Manager Dave Challinor was forced into further changes, with five first-team players unavailable through injury.

Josh Wilson had recovered from a broken hand to return to the starting line-up, while young James Hardy also made his way into the manager’s 11.

Latest signing Fisayo Adarabioyo, the striker who counts Manchester City and Crystal Palace among his former clubs, was among the substitutes.

The opening exchanges were cagey and the first real opening fell for the visitors on nine minutes.

Striker Ryan Brooke was played through on goal but Dom Collins was back in the nick of time to block his effort.

The hosts almost made the breakthrough moments later, when Danny Rowe was slipped in by Wilson. However, he chose to square the ball across goal instead of letting fly and the chance was gone.

Former Fylde man Liam Tomsett was next to try his luck on 17 minutes, when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area, but his side-footed effort was narrowly wide of the left post.

Up the other end, Hardy delivered a dangerous corner into the Curzon box but Wilson was well over with his header. Fylde were starting to create inroads and Charles fired in a fizzing cross that no-one could get on the end of.

There was a moment of handbags shortly before the half-hour mark following a tackle that resulted in Alex Marrow receiving the first caution of the afternoon.

The opener came just seconds later and it was a deserved goal for the Coasters. Stephen Crainey delivered a peach of a cross into the six- yard box and Charles rose highest to head home off the underside of the bar.

The lead could have been doubled on 33 minutes, when Sam Finley played a precise pass through to Rowe but the striker couldn’t get his shot away.

Charles was proving too hot to handle for the visitors as he danced past several challenges, then played a give-and-go with Rowe but couldn’t latch on to the return pass.

Curzon’s attacking threat in the first half was summed up when Joe Guest slipped as he shaped to shoot when well placed just outside the Fylde penalty area.

They were to have one last effort on the stroke of half-time but Ben Hinchliffe was equal to Alex Brown’s powerful strike.

Rowe was first to test the goalkeeper after the break when he cut on to his left foot four minutes into the second half, but his tame shot was comfortable for Hakan Burton, then a fantastic last-ditch tackle prevented him from getting his shot off after some delightful football from the home side.

On 56 minutes, Curzon drew level and it was a sloppy goal from the hosts’ point of view. A cross from the left cut open the Fylde backline and Matthew Warburton tapped home.

No sooner had the game restarted than the visitors were ahead. Jordan Wright found acres of space on the right and squared for Brown to turn the ball home unopposed.

Charles attempted to get the Coasters back into the game on the hour mark but his curling strike was straight at the goalkeeper.

Finley was presented with a glorious chance two minutes later, but his back-post header from Caspar Hughes’ deep cross was claimed by Burton.

The chances continued to come for Challinor’s side and Wilson was inches over with his header from a Hardy free-kick.

The game was becoming somewhat scrappy, with tackles flying in from both sides, and Hardy fell victim to an especially heavy challenge prior to his substitution.

Danny Lloyd’s introduction added some pace to the Fylde attack and he was starting to cause problems down the left, but Fylde were struggling to find a breakthrough.

Adarabioyo was thrown on with eight minutes to play and looked to get down the line straight away, but he was eased out of possession by a stubborn Curzon defence.

Rowe fired in a late strike that flew wide of the left post during the five minutes of added time but it wasn’t to be the Coasters’ day.

Fylde are now five points off the pace but have played three fewer games than Nuneaton, who returned to the top with a 3-0 home win over Tamworth.

DANIEL AGNEW