AFC Fylde 2 Southport 1: Ten-man Coasters maintain 100 per cent start
Ten-man AFC Fylde made it four wins on the bounce in National League North with this bank holiday victory over their North-West rivals.
The leaders withstood a late Southport onslaught to maintain their 100 per cent start thanks to goals from Stephen Dobbie and Joe Piggott, after Jordan Archer put the visitors ahead and Ben Tollitt was red- carded for dangerous play.
Jim Bentley made three changes to the side that won 4-1 at Hereford on Saturday, with Liam Nolan, Sam Osborne and Stephen Dobbie coming into the team in place of David Perkins, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson and Nick Haughton, who all dropped to the bench.
Fylde began the match in confident fashion and it was Luke Burke who was driving them forward in the early stages. Burke’s dangerous cross after four minutes just evaded the head of Joe Piggott, who was unmarked in the six-yard box.
Moments later, Dobbie almost made the breakthrough, turning and striking towards goal, but Adam Anson did well to block from close range.
At the other end, Archer found space in the centre of the pitch and hit a right-footed effort over the crossbar.
On 21 minutes, however, Archer found his shooting boots and gave Southport the lead. Some slick football from the visitors enabled him to fire past Chris Neal from just inside the area, despite the best efforts of Alex Whitmore.
The goal seemed to rouse Bentley’s side and Dobbie provided an instant reply three minutes later.
Tollitt did well to work his way to the byline and cross for the experienced Dobbie to calmly stroke the ball into the bottom corner.
Coasters captain Whitmore was presented with a glorious chance to give his side the lead but couldn’t steer his free header on target.
As half-time approached, Tollitt slid to dispossess Charles Oliver as he broke forward. Although it seemed a fair challenge from the pressbox, the referee deemed it to be dangerous play and showed the Coasters number seven a straight red card.
Southport had their tails up and Josh Hmami tried to take advantage of the extra man but his free-kick from distance failed to trouble Neal.
Just eight minutes into the second half, Piggott fired the Coasters ahead, with an almost identical finish to his goal at Hereford.
On the hour, Fylde added some fresh legs by replacing scorer Piggott with former Southport forward Jack Sampson.
The big target man’s role included helping to defend set-pieces, though Anson almost volleyed home a corner with 64 minutes gone.
Down the other end, it took a spectacular stop from Cameron Mason to deny Osborne his first competitive Coasters goal.
Shortly after, Hmami, who had been a threat all afternoon, almost drew the visitors level when he flashed a cross-shot past the far post.
The frantic final 10 minutes saw Fylde camped in their 18-yard box.
And keeper Neal preventede Southport levelling at the death, when his save on the goal-line kept Fylde ahead of Brackley Town on goal difference.
Fylde: Neal, Burke, Whitmore, Stott, Conlan, Nolan (Perkins 77), Joyce, Tollitt, Osborne, Dobbie (Haughton 69), Piggott (Sampson 61); Subs not used: Jones, Holland-Wilkinson
Southport: Mason, Tharme, C Doyle, Anson, Oliver, Bainbridge, J Doyle, Hmami, Vassallo, Buckley-Ricketts (Carver 60), Archer (Watson 77); Subs not used: McMillan, Woods, Munro.
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