A GOAL in either half sealed a memorable win for AFC Fylde as they overcame North West Counties side Bacup Borough to win The Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at the Reebok Stadium on Monday night.
Capitalising on a mistake by Bacup Jimmy McCarthy scored a fantastic team goal to give the Coasters a 37th minute lead before Captain Joe Booth smashed home a penalty to seal the win 11 minutes from time.
Fylde dominated the game from start to finish and reduced their spirited lower league opponents to a handful of efforts to win their second trophy under Dave Challinor’s reign.
Knowing full well they needed to start brightly, the Coasters should have scored within two minutes when Harry Winter was played in on goal but Bacup keeper Ryan Jones denied the midfielder an early opener.
Borough’s striker and Captain, Daniel Cocks was a thorn in Fylde’s side for most of the match and should have done better with his cross in towards David Gray in the 11th minute but Fylde stopper Ben Hinchliffe comfortably stopped the attack deep inside his own area.
Fylde were showing a clear difference in class in the first half as they dominated proceedings throughout but couldn’t find a way through a solid defence – the best chance coming on 14 minutes when a sublime cross from Adam Carden was headed over by James Dean from ten yards.
It was the same outcome eight minutes later when a trademark run from Michael Barnes resulted in his cross being headed the wrong side of the post by McCarthy and in the 28th minute, Barnes came closer than anyone when his shot was deflected around the post.
The breakthrough finally came on 37 minutes when a sloppy free kick was coolly intercepted by Carden on the edge of his own penalty area and within seconds the ball was in the back of the Bacup net.
Carden burst forward, played the ball to Barnes who knocked back to Booth who sent a great through-ball to McCarthy waiting in the box and he had all the time in the world to curl his shot around the oncoming Jones.
Two minutes later, Dean should have doubled the advantage but saw his header sneak agonisingly wide of the post and Fylde went in 1-0 up at the break.
Full credit must go to Bacup though as they didn’t die down and in the second half created a couple of brilliant chances to level the tie.
Six minutes into the half, Hinchliffe came to the rescue as he produced a world-class save to deny Cocks a goal from ten yards after Matthew Bryan had rounded Matty Hughes with ease and fed a great ball towards Cocks which was asking to be buried.
Soon after, Booth and Adam Sumner failed to fashion anything from a free kick in a great position for Fylde, opting to square to Barnes from the right corner of the box but Barnes’ shot was weak and easily cleared.
Bacup then enjoyed a brief spell of possession around the Fylde area and just after the hour Lee Oldham came within inches of an equaliser sending his shot wide of the mark.