AFC Fylde 0 FC Halifax Town 2: Coasters head into play-offs after defeat
AFC Fylde go into the National League play-offs on a losing note after two goals in three minutes late in the first half sealed victory for Halifax on the final day of the regular season at Mill Farm.
It means the Coasters slip below Wrexham to finish fifth and will face Harrogate Town in the first round of the play-offs at Mill Farm on Wednesday, with the winners to visit runners-up Solihull Moors in the semi-finals next Saturday.Fylde made wholesale changes following their back-to-back Easter wins. Alex Reid and Lewis Walters were the only survivors from the starting side at Salford City on Monday, while Fylde gave a league debut to goalkeeper Russ Griffiths.Devante Rodney looked dangerous early on as the visitors looked to end a disappointing season on a high but Fylde had the first opportunity on eight minutes, when Reid was fouled on the edge of the box. In the absence of top scorer Danny Rowe, who spent the afternoon on the bench, Ash Hemmings curled the set-piece into the arms of keeper Sam Johnson, who briefly fumbled.Danny Philliskirk captained the Coasters and fired over five minutes later from Nick Haughton''s neat lay-off. Halifax had the ball in the net on 16 minutes but Niall Maher was ruled offside as he headed home Jordan Preston's free-kick. Fylde went straight up to the other end and went close themselves as Haughton's effort shaved a post. Johnson then spared Halifax a humiliating own goal, his excellent reflex stop preventing team-mate Nathan Clarke from turning Hemmings' cross to the back-post into his own net. Haughton fired a low effort just wide on 21 minutes, then it was Tom Crawford's turn to test Johnson from a Fylde free-kick.Fylde keeper Griffiths was called into action for the first time on 25 minutes, saving from close-range to deny Rodney following a poor header by Arlen Birch. James Hardy's effort was stopped by Johnson as Fylde continued to have the better of the chances but it was Halifax who went ahead on 38 minutes as Matthew Brown climbed highest to head home Preston's cross. Walters fired wide for Fylde but Halifax were two up on 41 minutes, when Birch could only divert a cross into his own net. Serhat Tasdemir replaced Walters for the second half and Fylde proceeded a apply pressure but struggled to create chances, though Johnson saved well from another Haughton effort just before the hour.Manny Duku's strike for Halifax flashed across goal and wide after Timi Odusini was caught in possession on 69 minutes, then at the other end Tasdemir's effort was deflected wide for a corner. Griffiths, who previously had a loan stint with Halifax during his years at Everton, again saved well as he got a strong hand to Cameron King's effort on 76 minutes.Reid fired over in stoppage time and Hardy saw an effort cleared off the line but Fylde couldn't find a way back into the contest.Elsewhere, Leyton Orient have gone up to the Football League as champions, while the other first-round tie in the play-offs will see Wrexham face Eastleigh on Thursday. Salford City await to winners of that one in the semis.Fylde: Griffiths, Birch, Odusina, Brewitt (Tunnicliffe 68), Crawford, Philliskirk, Walters (Tasdemir 45), Hemmings, Hardy, Haughton (Burke 80), Reid; subs not used: Bond, RoweHalifax: Johnson, Clarke, Brown, Preston, King, Kosylo, Berrett, Maher, Duku, Rodney, Skarz; not used: Staunton, Edwards, Rowley, Freedman, GondohReferee: Martin WoodsAttendance: 1,891