AFC Fylde 2 Wrexham 0: Ash Hemmings double seals top of table thriller
Ash Hemmings' first goals for the club sealed Fylde's first National League victory of 2019 in this top-of-the-table clash at a packed Mill Farm.
Almost 3,000 saw attacker Hemmings, who spent last month on loan at Altrincham, score either side of half-time as Fylde replaced their Welsh rivals in fourth place.The Coasters made six changes to the side that started the previous league game at Bromley, giving debuts to new signings Timi Odusina, a defender loaned from Norwich City, and midfielder Dan Bradley, starting his second stint at the club after returning from Kidderminster. The first chance fell to the visitors in a frantic opening on a bitterly cold afternoon. Akil Wright had a free header from a corner inside 10 minutes but home keeper Jay Lynch was equal to it.Wright found space to shoot from the edge of the area on 20 minutes but was again denied by Lynch, the keeper getting down well to hold his effort. Rob Lainton in the Wrexham goal was less assured when he was tested for the first time. He spilled Danny Rowe's long-range effort and was fortunate to see Ryan Croasdale flagged offside as he looked to pounce on the loose ball.Ten minutes before before the break, Lainton was again relieved to see Rowe's far-post volley from Nick Haughton's excellent ball whistle over the top. The Coasters broke the deadlock 90 minutes before the break and again Haughton was involved.The attacker's mazy run was stopped by Jake Lawlor, but a poor clearance only found Hemmings and his first-time drive was too powerful for Lainton. Fylde had a great chance to double their lead in the opening seconds of the second half but Bradley's first-time effort was blocked by Lainton and the ball bounced to safety. The crucial second goal did arrive on 55 minutes, when Fylde counter-attacked from a Wrexham corner and Hemmings' shot from the edge of the area nestled in the far corner of the net. The visitors, staring at a fifth successive defeat since the turn of the year, looked to hit back but Luke Summerfield's effort on the hour was well saved by Lynch. The league's 19-goal top scorer Rowe had a quiet afternoon and saw an ambitious effort from almost halfway fly wide after he spotted Lainton off his line.The final chance of the game fell to the visitors in added time, when substitute Rekeil Pyke's effort was punched away by Lynch to secure a well deserved clean sheet. Fylde: Lynch, Birch (Bond 80), Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Odusina, Montrose (Philliskirk 43), Croasdale, Bradley, Hemmings, Haughton (Brewitt 80), RoweWrexham: Lainton, Roberts, Pearson, Summerfield, Carrington, Rutherford, Walker (Young 52), Wright, Beavon (Pyke 52) , Lawlor, Grant (Stockton 63)Att: 2,912