AFC Fylde 3 Gainsborough Trinity 1: Full report and reaction
AFC Fylde 3
Fylde trailed at half-time to Jordan Thewliss’ strike only for quickfire goals from Danny Rowe and James Hardy to turn the game on its head before Bradley put the icing on the cake with a neat finish late on.
The hosts had the first sight of goal when the ever-dangerous Hardy weaved his way into the box from the right but his left-footed shot was wide of the far post.
Gainsborough kicked off with a clear game plan to stifle the Coasters, with two banks of four behind the ball at all times.
The league’s top scorer Rowe had a sniff of goal shortly after 10 minutes but waited too long to pull the trigger on the edge of the box and his eventual strike was blocked.
The striker went closer still a few minutes later, when his header form Tom Kennedy’s corner was cleared off the line by Josh Lacey.
Another Kennedy corner was flicked narrowly wide by Josh Langley as the Coasters started to build momentum midway through the half.
The defender had another attempt moments later but his ambitious drive from 30 yards was well wide.
The visitors created their first chance of note when Nathan Jarman’s snapshot from 12 yards was well saved by Tony Thompson.
Debutant Bradley had his first opportunity when he received the ball from Rowe on the edge of the box, but his well-struck effort was straight at George Willis.
Steve Williams headed narrowly over soon as Fylde turned the screw, though the centre-half was forced off with a foot injury five minutes before the break and the deadlock was broken three minutes later.
The Coasters lost the ball in midfield and Thewliss drove forward to find the bottom corner against the run of play.
Rowe almost equalised inside the first minute of the second half, when he fizzed a vicious effort inches wide of the far post from distance.
There was a moment of confusion in the Gainsborough six-yard box when Adam Quinn collided with goalkeeper Willis and the ball almost ended up in their net
The chances continued to come for the hosts and Rowe should have scored when he rolled Hardy’s cut-back just wide.
Bohan Dixon was presented with a similar opportunity but place his shot straight into the arms of Willis.
Gainsborough fashioned a rare chance when Richie Baker’s poor back-header played in Jarman but his attempted lob was routine for Thompson.
The Coasters finally pulled level on the hour, when hitman Rowe shifted the ball on to his left food after beating his man in the box and drilled his 17th goal of the season into the bottom left corner.
And Fylde were ahead a moment later, when Hardy danced past two challenges before rifling a left-footed shot in off the post.
Reid stung the palms of Thompson with a powerful strike as the stunned visitors looked for aAFC Fylde 3 Gainsborough Trinity 1
Bradley adjusted his feet and fired left-footed into the far corner of the goal.
Fylde remain top on goal difference from Harrogate, who beat Gloucester by the same score, but can pull further clear with victory in tomorrow’s rearranged match at Stockport.
Dave Challinor admits strong words were said at half-time as he tries to help his Fylde team fulfil their potential:
The Coasters boss said: “It’s obviously great to win. There were a few harsh words at half-time and you look for a reaction.
“We’ve scored at good times in the second half, which has given us time to push on.
“To get the second goal quickly after the first completely changes the complexion of the game. We managed a third but we need to get better and we know that.
“You give soft messages to try to probe things along but sometimes you need to let them know exactly where they stand. We did at half-time.
“They’ve responded in the right way, which is great. We’re in a position we want to be, which obviously brings pressure itself, but we still need to improve.
“It was frustrated in the first half because I know they’re better than that. There’s still loads more to come. They’ve got a good chance as a group and as individuals, and as a coach I wouldn’t be doing them justice by accepting mediocrity.
“They’ve got to get desire and want to be the best they can be every day.
As for debutant Dan Bradley, Challinor said: “I’m delighted for Bradley to score. It’s always tough coming in. It’s been a drawn- out process. He trained on Thursday and Friday and looked really bright.
“It looked like it was going to be one of those days for him but he kept plugging away. We’re asking him to play in a different position in a team that play in a different way.
“You always want to do well on your debut and sometimes the more you try the worst it gets. He’s a top player and he’s shown that already
As for Steve Williams’ injury, Challinor said: “Steve just had a problem with his foot and we’ll have to see where he is on that. I was thinking about a change anyway to get Richie Baker into midfield because I just didn’t think we were moving it quickly enough.”
AFC Fylde: Thompson, Holmes, Williams (Baker 40), Langley, Kennedy, C. Hughes, Bond, Dixon (Collins 83), Bradley, Hardy (M. Hughes 89), Rowe.
Subs not used: Jennings, Blinkhorn.
Gainsborough Trinity: Willis, Lacey, Beatson, Thornhill, Quinn, Picton, Reid (Bailey-King 69), Wiles, Worsfold (Hands 69), Jarman, Thewliss (Morrison 83).
Subs not used: Davis, Wilson.
Ref: Kevin Mulraine