Lowestoft Town 1, AFC Fylde 0
AFC Fylde suffered a frustrating defeat at the hands of the club they famously beat six summers ago to claim the FA Vase at a sunbaked Wembley Stadium.
But in this first meeting since then, it was the Trawlerboys who took all three points to remain unbeaten in Vanarama Conference North despite a dominant performance from the Coasters, particularly in the second half.
Shaun Bammant scored the only goal midway through the first period. This gave the home side something to hold on to as they doggedly denied Fylde at least a point.
Danny Rowe got an early shot in to test Ashlee Jones in the Town goal on two minutes, but it took another 15 for either side to record the next attempt on goal.
Bammant had it, forcing a save from Ben Hinchliffe, though the linesman had his flag raised anyway for offside.
Bradley Barnes then tried his luck with a half-volley from a corner but sent his effort high and wide from the edge of the box on 18 minutes.
Ten minutes later, disaster struck for Fylde. Home striker Jefferson Louis was able to back-heel the ball between two defenders inside the box, which allowed Bammant time to run on to the loose ball and tap in from close range.
The game was fairly even at this point as both sides were feeling the force of some tasty challenges.
Adam Sumner was brought down by Chris Henderson, who was rewarded with a yellow card for his troubles by referee Anthony Da Costa, who also cautioned Fylde’s Tom Hannigan. Seven minutes before the break, Richie Allen had two bites at the cherry from Mike Barnes’ cross.
A defender stopped him connecting for an initial shot, but as the ball came down Allen volleyed over the bar.
Michael Potts was unlucky to see his shot tipped over by Jones two minutes later.
It was Lowestoft who started the second half the stronger, with Robert Eagle and Rossi Jarvis missing decent chances to extend the lead in the first five minutes.
But from then on Fylde controlled the play but couldn’t find an end product.
Allen was teed up by Joe Booth just inside Town’s box but his half-volley sailed inches wide on 57 minutes.
Rowe couldn’t get a shot off five minutes later as a defender poked the ball away from his toes for a corner, from which Hannigan headed wide.
Fylde man of the match Allen then fell afoul of the linesman’s flag when he got a toe to Potts’ ball over, Jones palming the effort over anyway goal.
And with 19 minutes remaining Allen was even more unlucky, hitting the side-netting with a clean strike.
The Fylde striker then saw a fantastic header cleared off the line by Lowestoft captain Sam Gaughran.
With time running out, Rowe did brilliantly to get a shot on goal under pressure inside the box but again Jones was there to deny Fylde.
Disappointed Fylde boss Dave Challinor said: “I suppose we’re learning some harsh lessons at the moment.
“All the hard work we put into the first half meant we dominated the second, but we were undone by a sloppy goal which gave them something to hang on to.
“I felt that even though we played well and tried to create some chances, we didn’t work their keeper enough, which ultimately means our forward play and decision-making isn’t good enough.”
“That is something we will work on in training next week as we don’t have a game until next Saturday.
“We then have two games in 48 hours, which isn’t great for anybody but we’ve got time to work on what we need to and make sure we’re ready.”
Fylde, who sit exactly halfway in the table with three points from three games, welcome 100 per cent league leaders Guiseley to Kellamergh Park on Saturday before visiting Challinor’s previous club Colwyn Bay on Bank Holiday Monday.