Matlock finally unlocked

Luke Denson's powerful header goes just wide

Luke Denson's powerful header goes just wide

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A resilient Matlock side couldn’t deny Fylde a third successive victory which took them top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

In a game of few clearcut chances, Matty Blinkhorn gave the Coasters the lead four minutes before the break and Harry Winter wrapped up victory in the opening seconds of the second half.

Fylde dominated from the off but couldn’t grab a vital early goal which could have opened the floodgates as in their previous two outings.

In fact, Matlock’s Danny Holland had the first attempt of the game in the opening seconds but shot straight at Ben Hinchliffe in the Fylde goal then Michael Barnes missed as Fylde raced straight up to the other end.

Some good possession around the visitors’ penalty area couldn’t be converted into openings as Barnes’ crosses and long-range efforts from Danny Lloyd were cleared or blocked by a solid Matlock defence.

Winter had sight of goal on 15 minutes but scuffed his shot well wide after being played through by Blinkhorn, then Jack Dorney couldn’t keep his effort down on 27 minutes.

Lloyd first had keeper Jon Kennedy back-pedalling to catch the ball on his line, then shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

It was a stroke of luck which saw Blinkhorn to open the scoring on 41 minutes – Kennedy jumped to claim a high cross but collided defender David Haggerty, and the ball fell kindly for the striker to roll his fifth goal of the season into an open net from five yards.

Fylde felt another goal after half-time would skill off a Matlock side that offered little going forward, and straight from the restart Barnes’ low cross across the face of goal was turned in by Winter from

six yards, his fourth

of the season.

The game went into a lull for 20 minutes or so, but Lewis McMahon should have pulled one back for the visitors against the run of play on 68 minutes. After breaking into the box, he shot wide.

Fylde then enjoyed a good late spell as Joe Booth headed wide, Jamie Rainford was inches away from tapping in a corner at the far post and Lloyd shot just wide.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “We’re top of the league now and we’re there to be shot at if you like. People know what we’re about and know we want to try to be successful, so finding that level of consistency to keep us going was something we spoke about.

“Matlock are a decent side and we knew they would make it difficult for us. We dominated possession without really troubling them and I think we were back to making poor decisions in the final third.

“I said at half-time that the keeper had only really had one save to make, so we needed to improve on that. We started well and got the second goal but then I think we just switched off a bit mentally.”

Fylde visit Nantwich Town tomorrow before facing Blyth Spartans in the first qualifying round ofthe FA Cup on Saturday.

CHRIS PARK

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin, Sumner, M. Hughes, Denson, C. Hughes, Dorney (Booth 70), Winter, Blinkhorn (Rainford 78), M. Barnes, Lloyd; Not used: Hare, Russell, Charnley.