AFC Fylde 4 Eastleigh 2: Second-half fightback gives Dave Challinor’s players three points

Jordan Tunnicliffe heads AFC Fylde on level terms    Picture: Steve McLellan
Jordan Tunnicliffe heads AFC Fylde on level terms Picture: Steve McLellan
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AFC Fylde came back from two down to record a 4-2 win against Eastleigh at Mill Farm.

Second-half goals from Jordan Tunnicliffe, Nick Haughton and Alex Reid ensured the win after Dan Bradley’s first-half effort.

The first sight of goal fell to the Spitfires but Mark Yeates sent his volley over the bar.

At the other end, the Coasters had a fantastic chance to take the lead when Tunnicliffe met Haughton’s inswinging corner but his effort was well saved by Luke Southwood.

This set the precedent for an open game, as Reid and Danny Rowe looked to stretch the Eastleigh back four, though the visitors also threatened with Jay Lynch denying Yeates.

However, from the resulting corner, the ball was well recycled at the back post and Alex Wynter headed home from close range.

Although there were some encouraging signs in attack for the Coasters, it was the visitors who doubled their lead.

Michael Green won the ball and curled into the penalty area for Paul McCallum to beat Lynch.

Fylde halved their deficit when, from another Haughton corner, Bradley rose highest to glance a header past Southwood and bring the Coasters back into the game.

However, they could have been two goals adrift again when another cross into the box saw Lynch push McCallum in the back.

The referee little option but to point to the spot, only for Lynch to redeem himself in pushing away McCallum’s penalty to leave Dave Challinor’s players 2-1 down at half-time.

Fylde started the second half better of the two sides, with Reid failing to make the most of a couple of half-chances.

They got on level terms when Haughton won a free-kick 35 yards from goal, which he delivered into the box for Tunnicliffe to send a header into the ground and bouncing into the net.

Having restored parity, the Coasters then lost Tom Brewitt to injury, meaning a reshuffle with Arlen Birch coming on at right-back and Luke Burke joining Tunnicliffe in the middle.

Nevertheless, Fylde continued to dominate with Rowe and Haughton testing Southwood.

McCallum forced a fantastic low stop from Lynch but Haughton completed the turnaround to put Fylde ahead with a low, angled effort.

The game could have been out of sight shortly after but neither Reid nor Ryan Croasdale could capitalise on a break led by Haughton.

Reid, however, did have to wait long for his next chance and it was one where he put the game beyond doubt.

A well measured flick-on from Rowe set Reid on his way as he took a touch goalwards, before slamming the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Eastleigh had chances to bring it back, with McCallum and Chris Zebroski causing problems in the air.

Sam Matthews saw a spectacular effort bounce back off the woodwork but it was Fylde who claimed the three points.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Francis-Angol, Tunnicliffe, Brewitt (Birch 52), Burke, Croasdale, Philliskirk, Bradley, Haughton (Crawford 83), Rowe, Reid. Subs not used: Bond, Hardy, Tasdemir.

Eastleigh: Southwood, Hare, Green, Gobern (Jones 46), Hobson (Zebroski 78), McCallum, Yeates, Boyce, Wynet, Miley, Williamson (Matthews 67). Subs not used: McKnight, Dennett.

Referee: David Richardson.

Attendance: 1,525.