AFC Fylde 3, Nantwich Town 2

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Fylde survived a late fightback to record a much needed victory at Kellamergh Park on Saturday.

Goals from Michael Barnes, Joe Booth and Jimmy McCarthy gave the Coasters a 3-0 half-time lead only for Nantwich’s second on 89 minutes to set up three nervy minutes of injury time for Fylde.

Dave Challinor’s side were desperate to get back onto winning ways after successive defeats in league and made the perfect start when Barnes beat the offside trap to fire home inside four minutes.

Sean Cooke was the dangerman for the visitors and he had two attempts to level the scores.

The first came from a free-kick he sent inches wide, then he unleashed a powerful left-foot shot from the edge of the area which goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe did well to deal with.

Fylde doubled their lead on 23 minutes, when Jack Dorney raced into the Dabbers box and was brought down by keeper Jon Brain. Brain was lucky enough to stay on the pitch and not even receive a ticking off. Booth stepped up to take the penalty and scored on the rebound.

Brain did well to dive to his left to stop the initial shot spot-kick, but Booth was there to fire the rebound into the opposite corner.

Barnes was running both full-backs ragged as he regularly swapped sides to keep the visitors guessing, and it was his break down the left which brought about Fylde’s third on 36 minutes.

Finding himself at the Nantwich by-line, Barnes squared the ball across the face of the goal for McCarthy to beat Rod McDonald to the ball and tap in from close range in his first home game since returning from a month’s loan at Warrington Town.

Five minutes before the break, McCarthy was almost in again, beating the offside trap to go one-on-one with Brain but the keeper got down well to deny the striker.

Dabbers manager Jimmy Quinn, was clearly displeased with his side’s first-half display, and they were clearly looking for an early goal as they came out for the second period

It almost came on 48 minutes as a great cross from Josh Lane found Cooke in acres of space in the box, but his first-time shot sailed narrowly wide.

Fylde’s first chance of the half fell to McCarthy and he should have done better on 55 minutes. After some good build-up play, Booth fed McCarthy the ball on the edge of the box but he fired well over when he had more time than he realised.

McCarthy had an even better chance four minutes later, but despite rounding the keeper in the penalty area his shot came back off the post and the defence cleared the danger.

And with 61 minutes on the clock, Barnes sent a searching ball into the six-yard box but it was too high for McCarthy.

That lead was cut to two on 69 minutes, when the visitors began to apply some pressure and it paid off when Darren Moss’ cross was met first time by Wilson and Hinchliffe had no chance of saving the shot.

Fylde dealt with any danger the Nantwich team could muster, but as the game drawing to a close, Williams fired a bullet of a volley across the face of the goal from a tight angle.

The warning was not heeded as with a minute to go, the deficit was cut to one when Hughes blasted the ball into the back of the net from 16 yards and set up a tense period of injury time.

Fylde survived it and manager Dave Challinor said: “I suppose the biggest disappointment was the scoreline after we were in such a positive position at half-time. Even at 3-1, we looked out of sight and the game was just petering out.

“When they scored their second it got a bit panicky in injury time. The fact we let them back in it taints the win slightly.”

Fylde’s next game is a trip to basement side Eastwood Town on Saturday, when Challinor will be looking for nothing less than another three points.


AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Taylor (C), Denson, Dorney, Winter (Dunn 84), McCarthy, M. Barnes, Booth (Jarvis 63); Subs not used: Carsley, Berry, Kusaloka.