AFC Fylde back in winning groove but Jim Bentley expects another stern test against Gateshead
AFC Fylde are ready for another tough test at home to Gateshead tomorrow, having bounced back from their first National League North defeat of the season with a midweek victory over Spennymoor Town.
READ MORE: Fylde avenge FA Cup defeat by Spennymoor.
It was Fylde’s third meeting of the season with Spennymoor, who eliminated them from the FA Cup in a replay, and manager Jim Bentley was delighted with Tuesday’s 2-0 Mill Farm win.
He told The Gazette: “We identified what had happened against Spennymoor in the two FA Cup games and tweaked the formation.
“We made the changes for positive reasons. You can be criticised if it doesn’t come off but we gave a really strong performance.
“We limited them to one shot on target and we had nine ourselves, as well as numerous opportunities.
“It’s a good, solid home win with two decent goals and on another day we could have scored a lot more. We’re pleased to bounce back after the defeat at Farsley Celtic.”
Ben Tollitt scored both goals, his first since another brace in the win at Guiseley on the opening day.
Bentley said: “Ben sets very high standards for himself and his form had dipped a bit, which can happen at any level.
“He scored a lot of goals last season and will be pleased with those two after a lean spell. He’s a big player for us.”
Claiming the assist for Tollitt’s second was debutant right-back Kieran Lloyd, whose one-month loan from Wigan Athletic was completed the previous day.
Bentley said: “Kieran trained well with us on Monday and has gone about his business. He’s a likeable lad who contributed at both ends. It was a really solid debut for a player who has only just turned 19.”
Striker Jordan Hulme was welcomed back into the Fylde fold after a loan spell at Ashton United which had precisely the effect Bentley was looking for.
“Jordan was like a different player in training,” the manager said. “He strung together five or six 90 minutes at Ashton and it was pleasing to give him some minutes off the bench. He’ll be better for a successful loan.”
That win stretched Fylde’s lead at the top to four points, though second-placed Brackley Town have two games in hand. Bentley is braced for another searching test tomorrow against a sixth-placed Gateshead side who are unbeaten in five and have won their least three league games.
He said: “They are a good side who have goals in their forward line with Macaulay Longstaff and Cedwyn Scott.
“We’ve studied them, they are full of energy and will be one of our rivals. They were excellent when we went there a year ago and were the best team we played last season.”
In the North West Counties League, Squires Gate return to their Brian Addison Stadium bidding to bounce back from a 2-1 midweek defeat at high-flying Charnock Richard.
Gate, who are 17th in the premier division, welcome a Northwich Victoria side five places and seven points above them.
AFC Blackpool aim to consolidate their place in the play-off zone when they visit struggling AFC Darwen for their first match for three weeks in First Division North.
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