AFC FYLDE 2 NUNEATON 1: Match report

Danny Rowe scores his 20th of the season Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Danny Rowe scores his 20th of the season Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Danny Rowe’s 20th goal of the season sealed a victory which stretched leaders Fylde’s unbeaten start to the Vanarama National North season to 14 games.

Goalkeeper Christian Dibble’s own goal was cancelled out by Boro playmaker Elliott Whitehouse on the stroke of half-time only for the prolific Rowe to secure a win which maintained the Coasters’ four-point lead at the top.

Dave Challinor handed winger Ryan Jennings his first start, the only change to the side that drew 3-3 at Kidderminster, with Richie Baker dropping to the bench.

Nuneaton took the game to Fylde in the opening stages and only an important headed clearance from Josh Langley prevented Aaron Williams turning home Greg Tempest’s dangerous cross from the left.

Fylde’s first shooting chance didn’t arrive until the 15th minute, when Rowe was sent on his way by Sam Finley. However, he flashed his strike across goal and wide post. The deadly hitman was closer a moment later, when his flicked header at the near post was deflected wide.

Dom Collins was denied by a fantastic save by Dibble from the resultant corner.

Rowe was looking as dangerous as ever and Nuneaton had a let-off when he uncharacteristically fired a set-piece over the bar from 25 yards. The frontman was well off- target with another chance moments later as the Coasters came to life.

Boro striker Joe Ironside had the best chance so far when he was played clean through, but keeper Rhys Taylor was quick off his line to smother the strike.

Finley hit back for the hosts, forcing Dibble into a reaction save with a stinging shot from the edge of the area. The midfielder then shot narrowly wide seconds later.

Some intricate play inside the Fylde penalty area presented Billy Daniels with a shooting opportunity but his left-footed effort lacked the power to trouble Taylor

The Coasters took the lead 10 minutes before the interval, when Tom Kennedy whipped in a delightful free-kick from the right and Dibble could only punch the ball into his own net.

Rowe was inches from doubling the lead on 40 minutes, when he cut in from the left and fired just wide of the far post from 20 yards.

The visitors levelled the scores two minutes before the break. Tempest swung in a corner from the left and Whitehouse shrugged off his marker before heading low into the bottom right corner.

Whitehouse almost completed the turnaround soon after the break, when he pounced on a loose ball at the back post but couldn’t capitalise.

Fantastic interplay between James Hardy and Rowe resulted in the former firing a sweet strike straight at Dibble.

Bohan Dixon tried his luck on the hour mark, launching a rocket from 25 yards that was tipped around the post as the Coasters piled on the pressure.

Fylde were handed a let- off when Taylor’s clearance hit the advancing Williams, who was adjudged to have handled the ball.

Rowe tried his luck with a second set-piece opportunity with 20 minutes to play, but as with his previous attempt the ball flew over the top.

The Coasters deservedly regained the lead on 74 minutes in emphatic fashion. Rowe robbed Blackpool loanee Luke Higham on the edge of the area before rifling a shot in off the underside of the bar.

The Coasters looked happy to see out the game by maintaining possession, while Nuneaton struggled to make any inroads in their search for an equaliser.

Substitute Tommy Wright did glance a header wide in the final seconds but Fylde saw the game out comfortably to claim an important three points. Fylde are at home to fourth-placed Harrogate Town on Saturday.

DANIEL AGNEW

Fylde: Taylor, Holmes, Langley, Collins, Kennedy, Bond, Hardy, Finley, Dixon, Jennings (C. Hughes 45), Hardy, Rowe.

Subs not used: Thompson, Baker, M. Hughes, Blinkhorn.

Nuneaton: Dibble, Clifton, Higham, Morgan, Langmead, Penny, Daniels (Demkiv 80), Tempest, Ironside (Wright 85), Whitehouse, Williams (Moli 83).

Subsnot used: Keane, Elliott.

Att: 1,627

Ref: Glen Hart