AFC Fylde 1 Boston United 0: Nick Haughton makes it two wins out of two as Coasters unveil new striker
AFC Fylde made it back-to-back wins at the start of their National League North campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Boston United at Mill Farm Stadium.
The only goal of the game came 10 minutes from time through the influential Nick Haughton, who saw his penalty saved by Peter Crook, before tapping home the rebound.
Fylde gave a debut to striker Joe Piggott in place of the injured Jack Sampson. Most recently at Altrincham, the 22-year-old has signed a short-term deal.
Piggott’s signing was confirmed on the morning of the game as was that of winger Jacob Holland-Wilkion, who was among the substitutes. The teenaged winger has joined on a month’s loan from Preston North End.
The game started well, with both sides playing with plenty of endeavour and purpose, and it took until the seventh minute for Coasters’ in-form winger Ben Tollitt to register the first shot of the game.
With two goals under his belt already this season, the winger cut inside and would have made it three if it wasn’t for Luke Shiels’ important block.
Haughton drilled the resulting corner into the path of an unmarked Danny Philliskirk but the midfielder’s free header bounced inches wide of the far post.
The Coasters were playing with a swagger but it was the visitors who almost broke the deadlock on 20 minutes.
Haughton was dispossessed in his own half, allowing Danny Elliott to race clear down the centre of the pitch, but he dragged his left-footed effort wide of the target, much to the relief of Haughton.
Alex Whitmore, who wore the captain’s armband for the first time in a competitive game at Mill Farm, was unable to connect with another teasing Haughton delivery before his defensive partner Jamie Stott curled a left-footed effort just over Crook’s crossbar from a tight angle.
The Pilgrims fought back and five minutes later the impressive Tom Platt glanced a header from a corner wide of the target, despite being positioned to do better.
A slick interchange between Haughton and Luke Burke gave the latter some space to pull the trigger from range but the full-backs execution didn’t match his ambition.
The remainder of the half ebbed and flowed, without either side able to carve out any clear-cut opportunities that would lead to a breakthrough.
Another chance fell Burke’s way in the 48th minute but this time Crook was on hand to block his low drive, then Scott Garner threw himself in front of the rebound.
Joe Piggott, who penned a short-term contract prior to kick-off, was presented with a chance to net a debut goal for Fylde but Boston captain Shiels was on hand to block his effort from five yards out.
Fydle boss Jim Bentley threw on the experienced Stephen Dobbie on the hour mark and the Scotsman made an immediate impact, seeing his first-time strike go wide.
It took until the 70th minute for the next opening to arrive, and it took an excellent stop by Fylde number one Chris Neal to keep out Paul Green’s vicious drive.
The keeper was at it again a minute later, this time diving low to his left to palm away Elliott’s effort after the striker was given too much room in the penalty area.
“Be patient” was the advice from the Coasters’ bench, and that patience paid off when Haughton was brought down in the penalty area on 79 minutes and, to the dismay of the travelling Pilgrims, the referee pointed to the spot.
Picking himself up to take the penalty, Haughton saw his low drive saved by Crook but reacted quickest to slot home the rebound.
Boston’s best chance of the game came with one minute to play, when substitute Jordan Burrow rose highest to meet a cross. Scampering down to his left, the impressive Neal denied the target man and held on to his clean sheet.
The away side tried to push more bodies forward but Fylde held on for all three points and extended their long unbeaten home record that streches back to the 2019/20 National League season.
AFC Fylde: Neal, Burke, Conlan, Whitmore, Stott, Joyce (Nolan 84), Philliskirk, Osborne (Dobbie 60), Tollitt, Haughton (Holland-Wilkinson 90), Piggott; Subs not used: Jones, Perkins.
Boston: Crook, Tootle (Green 40), Platt, Garner, Shiels, Ferguson, Elliott, Dimaio, Hawkridge (Wright 58), J Preston, Byrne (Burrow 82). Subs not used: Thanoj, F Preston.
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