AFC Fylde 2 Marine 0

Adam Farrell celebrates scoring
Adam Farrell celebrates scoring

THE Coasters produced a tasty Easter treat to storm back into the play-off places courtesy of a sixth consecutive win against their fellow promotion contenders.

Following on from a hard-fought win over Matlock Town just 48 hours earlier, Sean Cooke scored a fabulous solo goal to give his side the lead and Adam Farrell secured the points before the break at Kellamergh Park.

This was the fourth time these two sides had met this season and Marine were desperate to record a first win, having lost the previous three.

And they should have opened the scoring on five minutes. A rare mistake from eventual man of the match Steve Haslam allowed Stephen Johnson a sniff on goal, but Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe stayed big and smothered the ball at the feet of the Mariners winger.

Fylde started to command the wings better and sent a number of searching crosses into the Marine box from set-pieces and good attacking plays, but each time keeper Ryan McMahon was there to pluck the danger out of the air.

It was a moment of magic from Cooke which eventually broke the deadlock on 22 minutes as he dribbled his way through four defenders to unleash an unstoppable shot which flew into the bottom corner of Marine’s goal, his third goal in as many games.

Three minutes later, Mike Barnes had a great chance to double that lead but he clearly didn’t expect James Dean’s well-worked cross to reach him and the ball ended up going out of play for a goal-kick.

Cooke was at it again on 36 minutes – had it not been for some good back-tracking by the McMahon he would have had his and Fylde’s second.

After receiving the ball inside his own half, he looked up and sent an audacious 50-yard lob over the keeper, though McMahon did superbly to palm the ball over his bar.

The crucial second goal finally came and this time it was a well-worked team goal which saw Farrell firing home from 15 yards, converting Barnes’ cut-back.

The first shot from either side in the second half came for the visitors, when Nick Rogan was forced to shoot from distance but his curling effort was comfortable for Hinchliffe on 54 minutes.

The visitors came even closer to pulling a goal back on 67 minutes but an excellent lay-off from Jones was toed inches wide of the post by Liam Rice.

Fylde were under some tough pressure at this point and it was against the run of play that they found themselves back inside their opponents’ box with 18 minutes remaining. Farrell sent a searching ball over the top to Dean, who expertly controlled it on his chest and volleyed high and wide.

The pressure on Fylde’s goal was relentless, and after a series of corners Marine thought they had scored on 76 minutes. Hinchliffe’s punch fell only as far as Jonathan Goulding on the edge of the box but his bullet was cleared off the line by Adam Sumner.

Four minutes on, it was Hinchliffe’s turn for a bit of showboating when he barely had to move on his line to deny Michael Ordish’s 35-yard effort, plucking the ball out of the air like he was catching a fly.

The final say came two minutes into stoppage time, though, as substitute Ashley Dunn came agonisingly close to scoring his first goal for Fylde but his shot ricocheted off the post and back into play.

Fylde manager Dave Challinor was more than happy that his side chalked another three points towards his end-of-season target: “It was a good, professional performance in difficult conditions because of how strong the wind was, and the pitch was firm.

“We had the wind at our back in the first half and although we’ve scored two goals with two bits of quality, I thought we didn’t get it down and play as much as I’d liked and we played it behind a little bit too often.

“The second half was more about finishing the job and seeing it through. We knew that we’d get opportunities on the break if we provided a quality ball but it was about staying solid and keeping them high up the pitch and I think we’ve done that.”

Fylde now have four games on the road, starting with tomorrow’s trip to Stocksbridge Park Steels (7.45pm).

CHRIS PARK

Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Scott, B. Barnes (C), Farrell, Winter, Dean, M. Barnes (Dunn 86), Cooke; Subs not used: Taylor, Booth, McCarthy, Dorney.