AFC Fylde 4 Hartlepool 2: Coasters defy high winds for vital victory
Fylde defied blustery conditions which caused havoc at Mill Farm to beat Pools and climb to fourth in the National League.
Dave Challinor made two changes to the side which drew at Boreham Wood as Danny Philliskirk and Alex Reid came in for Dan Bradley and Andy Bond.
Fylde were immediately on the attack as Nick Haughton found space, unleashing a ferocious effort that just crept past the post.
Moments later Philliskirk made the most of an underhit pass, almost forcing the ball home.
This was a sign of things to come, as Danny Rowe found the net with his 24th of the season after just three minutes, twisting and turning before curling a low effort beyond Scott Loach.
Just two minutes later, it could and should have been two as Jordan Tunnicliffe met Haughton’s whipped cross but sent his towering header wide.
Hartlepool looked to equalise with long balls, assisted with a howling wind, with Luke James firing an effort that tested Lynch.
Another early chance came the Coasters’ way, as Rowe did well to glide out to the left before clipping a cross into the path of Reid, but he got his close-range header wrong.
The visitors worked their way into the game, with Molyneux and Kabamba causing problems with their pace.
The latter almost equalised, after getting the better of Tunnicliffe and making the most of a through ball but his powerful drive couldn’t get the better of Lynch.
Pools were happy to try to use the weather to their advantage, sending long, awkward balls into difficult areas, hoping for the wind to cause further problems.
A high swirling corner dropped into the Fylde penalty area, causing confusion and chaos not once but twice, with Tunnicliffe eventually doing enough to take control and remove the danger.
A second goal nearly came for the Coasters when Haughton whipped in a curling corner but it was scrambled off the line, and the half-time whistle came.
The teams back out for the second half, the 60mph wind hurtling along, and it was the visitors who started the faster this time.
Donaldson found himself 30 yards from goal without much pressure on him, and decided to try his luck from distance ... and his luck was certainly in.
His effort, helped by the swirling wind, bounced awkwardly in front of Lynch and carried all the way in, much to the delight of the travelling fans.
Hartlepool continued to push on, but moments later an incisive Fylde breakaway was met with a massive slice of their own luck.
Arlen Birch’s searching cross looked to find Rowe and was instead met by Fraser Kerr, who turned it into his own net, restoring Fylde’s lead on 56 minutes.
This seemed to swing things back the way of the Coasters, as Rowe’s superb deep cross found Haughton at the back post and he forced Loach into a reaction save.
Pools were level once again, after yet another massive slice of misfortune for Lynch on 75 minutes.
Hawkes’ whipped corner was buffeted by the wind and seemed to catch Lynch out as the ball ended up over the line.
The elements weren’t done playing their part just yet, though, as Fylde mounted another attack looking for the winner.
Crawford’s deflected cross flew into the air and swirled wildly back into the box, landing perfectly for Rowe to nod it home on 79 minutes.
The Pools looked to hit back, with the lively Molyneux causing Francis-Angol problems, but ultimately it was two Fylde substitutes who sealed the win.
Serhat Tasdemir’s brilliant run saw him cut in off the left and guide a shot goalwards,.
The ball bounced back off of the post and into the path of Lewis Walters, who made no mistake as he fired in his first goal for the Coasters.
Fylde don’t return to league action for a fortnight due to their two-legged FA Trophy semi-final but are now just two points behind third-placed Wrexham with a game in hand.
Fylde: Lynch, Birch, Francis-Angol, Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, Crawford, Tunnicliffe, Philliskirk (Walters 78), Haughton (Brewitt 90), Reid (Tasdemir 55), Rowe; subs not used: Hemmings, Odusina
Hartlepool: Loach, Edgar, Kerr, Molyneux, Kioso (Noble 86), Anderson, Hawkes, Featherstone, Donaldson, James, Kabamba; subs not used: Kitching, Hawkins, Muir, Amos
Referee: Simeon Lucas