Tom is top man for high-flying Coasters

Hannigan - two-goal hero
Hannigan - two-goal hero
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Gloucester City 0, AFC Fylde 2

Goals either side of half-time by centre-half Tom Hannigan secured a fifth straight win which took Fylde top of Vanarama Conference North.

Hannigan bundled the ball home from a corner just before the break and killed Gloucester six minutes after the restart with a thumping header.

It could have been a different story, however, as there wasn’t much between the two sides.

Gloucester started the brighter and forced a couple of corners in the first five minutes, and Charlie Griffin, who was the league’s top scorer before this game, had a header that went just over the bar inside the opening 10.

Mike Barnes then had a tame effort saved by Mike Green in the Gloucester net before a diving header from Richie Allen nearly crept in at the near post from a terrific Michael Barnes cross. Danny Rowe went even closer to opening to scoring when his effort was cleared off the line after 24 minutes, and the Fylde striker was unlucky not to score for the second time in two minutes after he got another chance, but it was tame and easily saved.

Charlie Griffin has a header saved easily and then Danny Rowe had another chance but neither side really took their chances in the first half. Richards and Groves both went close to opening the scoring for the home side but there were numerous home attempts over the course of the game that found their way over the bar.

Then came the opening goal for The Coasters, with Tom Hannigan scoring from a yard out. Fylde forced a corner late on and when it wasn’t dealt with, Hannigan was there to pounce to score although a lot of the home fans thought he was offside. Nevertheless, The Coasters went 1-0 up going into half-time.

But The Coasters took complete control of the game on 51 minutes when Hannigan got his second of the game from a second corner in the space of a couple of minutes. Hannigan’s header flew past Green in the Gloucester goal and The Coasters were in firm control from then onwards.

The home side brought on Chris Jones just after the hour and his introduction sparked something in the home side’s blood in the last 15 minutes. First, Marc Richards ambitious volley was hit well over the bar and then Connolly had an effort way over.

Next up was Billy Jones’ free-kick but it sailed just over, much to the relief of Hinchliffe in the Fylde goal. More efforts from Jarvis, Connolly, Wilson and Jones promised much but failed in quality.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “Obviously we’re delighted to win. We’ve played better in the past and come away with nothing . It’s a sign of a good side when you don’t play well and win. It just so happens at the moment that when we are playing well we win too.

“There will be some rotation to keep the squad fresh. It’s made my job very easy so far as the 11 players I’m picking to start the games are all doing well.”