AFC Fylde 3,
Warrington Town 0
FYLDE gave themselves a ten-point cushion in the play-off zone after this crucial win over their nearest challengers in Evo-Stik First Division North.
Even so, manager Kelham O’Hanlon felt there was something of a hangover from last Monday’s Lancashire FA Trophy triumph and has called for more from his side.
O’Hanlon made changes to the side which grabbed glory at the Reebok, opting to start with Andy Bell up front instead of top scorer Kevin Townson and recalling attacking midfielder Paul Jarvis, who was cup-tied for the showpiece final.
And they got off to the perfect start when wingman Michael Barnes tormented the visitors down the left inside the first minute and sent over a dangerous cross-shot which was deflected into his own net by Town skipper Mike Tomlinson.
Barnes went for a carbon copy moments later but this time Town keeper Pail Pritchard saved his goalbound effort well.
The visitors then had a good spell of posession but failed to create chances as the teams cancelled each other out, though Fylde lost influential midfielder Joe Booth to injury midway through the half. Sam Finley blazed over from 20 yards as Town gained a foothold only for the Coasters to double their lead two minutes before half-time.
Bell found himself clear on the right and chipped the keeper. The ball rebounded off the bar and Tom Cahill reacted quickest to bundle it into the net from inside the six-yard box.
Fylde were quick out of the blocks for the second half, and immediately went three up when Jarvis latched on to Cahill’s lay-off and fired into the bottom corner.
Warrington were perhaps having painful visions of their seven-goal mauling on their last visit to Kellamergh Park in the President’s Cup, especially when Bell’s shot whistled just past the post after Barnes linked up well with Ryan Elderton.
But Fylde couldn’t add to their tally and Town were given a lifeline from the penalty spot. Gavin Salmon was fouled by Ricky Mercer only for full-back Louis Corrigan’s spot-kick to be saved by Lewis Edge.
Fylde substitute Townson tested Pritchard with a stunning 20-yarder, then at the other end Town defender Tom Hardwick hit a post.
The visitors’ efforts probably deserved a goal but it wasn’t to be, busy midfielder Finley firing wide after Edge blocked his initial effort.
O’Hanlon said: “We played really well against Skelmersdale the Saturday before and lost, and this is the first time for a long time we have won and kept a clean sheet but not played well. It was a massive three points but the lads know I set my standards high and the performance wasn’t as good as it can be.”
Town have pulled level with fourth-placed Curzon Ashton, from two games more. All the clubs in the play-off zone were due to be in action on Tuesday night, when Lancaster City visited Kellamergh Park.
Fylde: Edge, Lawlor, Elderton, Doughty, Stringfellow, Mercer, Booth (M Mahoney), Jarvis, Cahill, Bell (Townson), Barnes (Walwyn); not used: Stevenson, Steel