Coasters find it tight at the top

Adam Sumner - fitness check
Adam Sumner - fitness check

AFC Fylde certainly know all about the ups and downs of football.

They had ample and justifiable cause to celebrate on Monday when they retained the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy with a thumping 4-1 win over Chorley.

But 24 hours later, in the business of primary importance, the Evo Stik Northern Premier League promotion race, the Coasters surrendered vital ground.

Results on Tuesday night meant that they lost ground in the league standings, slipping from second place to fourth without playing a game.

Worksop Town, 2-0 winners at Trafford, are now in second spot behind pace-setters Chorley.

And 1,589 fans saw FC United of Manchester beat Stafford Rangers 4-0 - that result put the victors in third place.

AFC Fylde are the form team of the division - they are on a run of 16 matches undefeated in all competitions, but it is vital that the team team maintains such high standards to maintain the impetus as the run-in gets every more fascinating.

The one plus-point for AFC Fylde in the midweek round of fixtures was the fact that Skelmersdale United’s wobble continued as they lost further ground in the title chase, going down 3-1 at home to Witton Albion.

Skem have lost three matches in succession and are fifth. Now the focus is on the latest round of matches tomorrow as the situation at the top gets ever more fraught and tense.

AFC Fylde are at home to Stamford, hoping to replicate their win over the same opponents last Saturday.

Chorley are at home to Nantwich, FC United have a massive match at Skelmersdale, while Worksop are away to Stafford Rangers.

Coasters’ manager Dave Challinor said: “It is important that we keep on our good run, whether that gets us the title or into the play-offs.

“The position at the top is certainly tightening up and we have now moved quickly from second place and now we are fourth.

“It is a strange sort of league where any team can beat another and we have to make sure that we keep our heads down.

“We have some tough games and some games which we would mark down as certainly being winnable.”

Challinor is hoping for a clean bill of health in the run-up to the visit of Stamford tomorrow.

One potential problem centres on Adam Sumner.

The Coasters’ boss said: “We were a bit concerned about Adam Sumner in the cup game with Chorley on Monday night.

“We thought at one stage that he had dislocated his shoulder, but after he had an x-ray we are hoping that he gets the all-clear in time for the weekend.”

Challinor added: “Luke Denson did brilliantly for us on Monday against Chorley - he picked up a hamstring injury, but managed to get through the game.

“Hopefully, he too will be okay.”

Long-term casualty Matty Hughes is inching ever closer to full fitness.

March 27 is the final deadline for registration of new players in time for the run.

Number one priority for Challinor is a back-up goalkeeper to first choice stopper Ben Hinchliffe