AFC FYLDE 0 ALFRETON TOWN 1: Full report and reaction

Danny Rowe tries a shot   Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Danny Rowe tries a shot Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
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Alfreton are now unbeaten in 13 games and how Fylde would love a similar run of form – this fourth defeat in six National North matches has seen them drop out of the play-off zone.

Dan Bradley scrambled home the only goal on 40 minutes against the run of play after Coaster goalkeeper Matt Urwin had spilled Sam Jones’ long-range effort.

Outstanding midfielder Sam Finley twice hit the crossbar in the first half for the home side but Dave Challinor’s men couldn’t find a way through the Reds’ defence.

Manager Challinor made one change to the team that started the abandoned match at Stalybridge Celtic seven days earlier, with Matty Hughes replacing Brad Barnes, who missed out through illness.

There was very little in the terms of chances in the opening stages as both sides struggled to retain possession and create anything meaningful.

Alfreton winger Lindon Meikle had the first shot of the match but his effort was high wide.

Fylde almost found themselves in on goal as Finley robbed Todd Jordan in a dangerous area and the ball almost fell for Danny Rowe, but keeper Matt Duke swept up the danger for the Derbyshire visitors.

Just moments later and the lively Finley was involved again. The midfielder launched a blockbuster from just outside the area and his dipping effort crashed off the bar and behind to safety.

On the half-hour mark, Alfreton forced the first corner of the game and almost made it count.

The ball was flicked on to Meikle, who looked like tapping in but that man Finley was on hand to block on the line. Fylde suddenly burst into life and Rowe did brilliantly to turn and feed Dion Charles down the right. The winger drilled a low, powerful strike at goal but Duke was equal to it, saving with his legs.

As half-time approached, Finley once again rattled the woodwork with a bullet header from a Lloyd corner.

However, Fylde were made to pay for their missed chances as the visitors went straight up the other end and took the lead.

Sam Jones’ shot from distance was spilled by Urwin and the grateful Bradley tucked home the rebound.

On the stroke of half-time, Charles hit a fine effort from distance as Fylde looked for the immediate response but it sailed just over the bar.

The second half began much like the first, neither side creating much in front of goal until Jones fired well wide for the visitors.

On the hour mark, Danny Rowe’s shot whistled just wide of the post, the Coasters’ first meaningful effort of the half.

Defender Josh Langley was next to chance his arm but his firm header drifted wide of the post.

Some last-ditched defending from Tom Hannigan prevented Alfreton from doubling the lead, the Fylde defender sliding in to deny Meikle what looked like a certain goal in the six-yard box.

The Coasters almost drew level with five minutes to go, when the visitors failed to clear a corner and the ball made its way to Langley at the back post, but again Duke did brilliantly to get a strong hand to the shot and his defence managed to scramble clear.

Langley went agonisingly close again with seconds to go from Richie Baker’s corner, but Duke wasn’t to be beaten and tipped his header over the bar.

One consolation is that Fylde still have at least two games in hand on all five teams above them, and victory away to promotion rivals Nuneaton on Tuesday would lift them to fourth or even third spot.

Challinor felt his Fylde side didn’t deserve to lose to Alfreton, despite admitting the second-half display was sub-standard.

The Coasters manager said: “I thought we were excellent first half but things just aren’t going for us at the moment.

“We had several chances, hit the bar twice and then we gifted them a goal.

“Matt (Urwin) has spilled a shot and it ends up in our net, and then it becomes difficult to get back into the match.

“Teams in this league are very organised and they make things difficult for you.

“I was disappointed with our performance in the second half. Alfreton managed the game well but we didn’t show enough desire.

“We wanted to put them under pressure and get the crowd in the game, and we just didn’t do that enough.

“We gave away far too many stupid fouls and free-kicks, which eased the pressure on them and killed any momentum we had.

“Ultimately football is about putting the ball in the back of the net and I could have probably played in goal for Alfreton in the second half.

“Looking at the game as a whole, we probably deserved something from it based on our first-half performance but we didn’t get that little bit of luck we needed.

“We are going through a tough spell, but this is a difficult league and we have a chance to make immediate amends on Tuesday night at Nuneaton.”


Fylde: Urwin, Sumner, Crainey (Blinkhorn 62), Langley, Hannigan, Baker, Finlay, M Hughes, Charles, Lloyd (Hardy 76), Rowe; Subs not used: Hinchliffe, Collins, Mullen

Alfreton: Duke, Moyo, Jordan, Allan, Heaton, Doylde-Charles, Robertson, Meikle, Jones, Thanoj, Bradley; Subs: Leesley, Nyoni, Smith.