AFC FYLDE 1 GLOUCESTER CITY 0: Full report and reaction

Fylde goalscorer Danny Lloyd
Fylde goalscorer Danny Lloyd
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AFC Fylde sealed all three points in a tightly-contested match at Kellamergh Park.

Danny Lloyd’s goal in the 10th minute, shortly after striker Danny Rowe had clipped the crossbar with a fine effort, was the difference between the sides and lifted the Coasters to third in National North.

Gloucester had chances to get back into the game but man of the match Matt Urwin stood firm in the Coasters’ goal to secure a vital victory.

Manager Dave Challinor made just one change to the side beaten at Gateshead in the FA Trophy three days earlier as Richie Baker returned in midfield in place of Dion Charles.

There was to be a bright start for the Coasters and inside the first minute Sam Finley played in Rowe, who was unlucky to see his audacious lob bounce off the crossbar and over.

The visitors responded well and enjoyed a good spell of possession as Joe Parker pounced on a loose ball in the box, but his flick rebounded off both posts before eventually being cleared.

Fylde raced straight down the other end and took the lead. Matty Hughes broke down the right, cleverly cut inside and the ball eventually found its way to Lloyd, who gleefully poked home.

On the quarter-hour mark ,Gloucester almost drew level as it needed a fantastic save from Urwin to keep a Chris Knowles header out.

With 25 minutes gone, it was Gloucester stopper Jasbir Singh’s turn to tip over, this time from Rowe’s near-post header.

Ten minutes later and Gloucester had the ball in the net, though the assistant referee’s flag saved the day for Fylde as Parker tapped into an open goal.

The visitors were proving a handful at set-pieces and full-back Billy Jones whipped in another dangerous free-kick that was eventually dealt with by the defence.

Five minutes before the break and Fylde once again broke quickly through Hughes, who played a lovely ball on to the head of Brad Barnes. He flicked the ball towards the bottom corner but Singh got down well to turn it away.

Gloucester began the second half with a dangerous free-kick, Joe Hanks whipping the ball around the wall but Urwin managed to claim at the second attempt.

In keeping with the rest of the game, Fylde went straight down the other end and should have scored on 49 minutes.

Hughes flicked a header on to Lloyd,who from six yards out headed straight at Singh, the keeper again tipping over. A yard either side and it would have been a certain goal.

A couple of minutes later and Urwin was called into action again, this time denying Hanks from a long-range free-kick.

On the hour, Fylde forced consecutive corners, and from the first Singh did well to save Greens’ blushes when it looked like his header would nestle into the corner of his own net.

After a quiet 15 minutes in which both teams struggled to retain possession, Parker burst clear but Urwin raced out to deny Gloucester the equaliser.

Gloucester substitute Omari Sterling-James found himself with the ball in the box but the excellent Urwin spread himself again to make another brilliant save.

Into the last ten minutes, most of the Coasters’ good work came on the counter attack as the visitors searched for a late leveller.

As the board went up indicating three added minutes, Brad Barnes burst clear but the Gloucester defence got back well to smother the danger. The Coasters are now one of three teams on 52 points, behind second-placed North Ferriby on goal difference going into tomorrow’s long-distance trek to Lowestoft.

Fylde manager Dave Challinor praised man of the match Matt Urwin and the keeper he replaced, Ben Hinchliffe following the hard-earned win over Gloucester.

Challinor said: “We were far from our best but we managed to grind out a very important win. When you look at the league table, we desperately needed the three points.

“We rode our luck at times and Matt (Urwin) had to make a few good saves, but we can put this one to bed now and look forward to Tuesday at Lowestoft.

“Matt’s done well since coming into the team and thoroughly deserved his chance.

“We have two very good goalkeepers and there is huge competition between them but there will be no one more delighted for Matt than Ben (Hinchliffe).

“Ben has lost his place but his training leading up to the game was potentially the best in his four years here, so he working hard to win his place back.

“Credit to Gloucester, who stopped us from playing for large parts of the match but we need to be better than we were.

“We have a long journey this week to Lowestoft, which isn’t ideal, but we have to go there and win.

“Normally I would say we need to produce a performance but at this stage of the season it’s all about winning. We need to keep the pressure on the teams above and around us.”

DANIEL AGNEW

AFC Fylde: Urwin, C.Hughes, Sumner (Whittle 81), Crainey, Hannigan, Barnes, M.Hughes (Charles 73), Finley, Rowe, Baker, Lloyd; Not used: Hinchliffe, Hardy, Blinkhorn