AFC Fylde 2 Ebbsfleet United 0: Just what Dave Challinor wanted for Christmas

Fylde are flying into the festive season after a goal in each half against in-form Fleet lifted them to fifth in the Vanarama National League.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 7:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:56 pm
Fylde celebrate Danny Rowe's match-clinching goal Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

READ MORE: Dave Challinor looks to short-term Fylde signingGoals from Ryan Croasdale and Danny Rowe, with his 16th league strike of the season, ensured the win on an afternoon where plenty of chances were afforded to both sides.While Fylde made the better start, with Rowe’s free-kick being tipped narrowly behind by Nathan Ashmore, it was the Fleet who grew into the game as the half developed.The experienced Danny Kedwell was at the heart of it all, winning headers to bring in the faster attackers in the form of Bagasan Graham and Colin Whitely. On 17 minutes, Whiteley had a golden chance to put his side ahead as a corner fell to him unmarked but his half-volley was deflected behind.Although it was a dominant spell for Ebbsfleet, it was Fylde who found the breakthrough. Moments after Arthur Gnahoua’s powerful effort flew just over the bar, the Coasters opened the scoring from a somewhat unlikely source.Andy Bond’s dangerous low cross from the right wing was met by a fully extended Ryan Croasdale, who put the Coasters ahead with only his second goal of the season on 28 minutes.With Lewis Montrose back in the side in his defensive midfield position, Croasdale was given his more familiar role further forward and repaid his manager for that decision.This opening goal relieved the pressure and Fylde looked more comfortable, with Nick Haughton and Gnahoua both going close before half-time.The second half saw Fylde start to take control of the game, with returning captain Montrose working hard on his first league start this season. It looked as if the Coasters might not find the vital second goal as Haughton’s deflected shot looped on to the bar after he pulled the trigger following a mesmerising run.Moments later, Bond fired over from a couple of yards out following Montrose’s overhead kick into the six-yard box.However, the second did eventually come 10 minutes from time, after an absolute howler from Chris Bush gifted Rowe one of the easiest goals of his career. Bush failed to make any contact with the ball when attempting a clearance and substitute Serhat Tasdemir nipped in. His shot rebounded into the path of Rowe, who made no mistake.The Coasters saw out the game and made up crucial ground – leaders Leyton Orient were the only team above Fylde to win. It means Challinor’s men will go into their Boxing Day clash at Barrow just two points behind third-placed Wrexham.Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Byrne, Brewitt, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Croasdale (Tunnicliffe 90), Haughton (Williams 90), Gnahoua (Tasdemir 67), Rowe. Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, Bush (Cheek 81), King, Magri, Winfield, Adams; Drury (McDonald 74), Payne; Bagasan, Kedwell, Whitely (Wilson 86)Attendance: 1,474