Salford City 0, AFC Fylde 2
AFC Fylde are back within touching distance of league leaders Curzon Ashton thanks to a 2-0 win at Salford City last night
Harry Winter’s first goal in Coasters colours broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half and Joe Booth tucked away his second penalty in as many games to secure all three points against a side Fylde had never beaten in Evo-Stik First Division North
The first chance fell to the home side inside 60 seconds, when a poor Fylde clearance was pounced upon by Matthew Tierney, whose first-time volley from the edge of the box sailed narrowly wide.
The mid-table home side came out battling on a poor pitch and won a number of free-kicks early on, much to the annoyance of Fylde manager Dave Challinor, but in second quarter the Coasters began to settle and play their own game.
After 20 minutes, Paul Jarvis was unlucky to see his well worked shot hit the post from 14 yards out after some good build-up play between strikers Richie Allen and James McCarthy, then nine minutes later Bradley Barnes sent a shot soaring over the bar from distance.
Ten minutes before half-time, Barnes tried his luck again from outside the box but the effort was blocked and cleared for a corner.
Despite dominating the latter stages of the half, the Coasters knew they had to come out firing early after the restart, and the nerves were well and truly settled on 50 minutes, when Joe Booth’s looping ball over the defence found Winter soaring in at the back post to fire home.
The visitors should have doubled their lead two minutes later, when McCarthy’s cross was just too high for Allen to reach at the far post, and on 55 minutes Jarvis shot over from the edge of the box following another McCarthy through- ball.
Fylde did stretch their lead just before the hour mark, when Booth was brought down in the box and the referee didn’t hesitate in awarding the penalty.
Proving he is definitely the man to take the Coasters’ spot-kicks, Booth coolly converted to make it 2-0.
Fylde never looked back from that point and controlled the ball well. Michael Barnes was introduced as they looked to create further chances to extend their lead.
Attempts from Bradley Barnes, Booth, Winter and full-back Adam Sumner didn’t find a way through the defence but Matty Kay did force a good save from home keeper Danny Jackson with a curling shot from outside the box.
Three minutes before the end, Allen went close to the first goal of his third spell at the club when he tested the keeper with a lob.
Challinor said: “It was always going to be tough. Salford is not an easy place to come as they’ve only lost three games here all season. They played with freedom and were under no pressure, so they could try to dictate the tempo of the game.
“The first goal settled us down and we looked a different team. In the end I thought we looked comfortable and could have got some more, but goals are more important than performances at this time of the season.”
Second-placed Fylde are now three points behind Curzon with a game in hand as they look forward to Saturday’s trip to Mossley.
Fylde: Jones, Mercer, Sumner, Doughty, Steel (Kay 80), B. Barnes, McCarthy, Booth, Jarvis (M Barnes 61), Winter, Allen; not used: McEvilly, Galliers, McDonald.