Challinor: Lessons to learn from most promising AFC Fylde campaign

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor
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AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor reflected on the positives at the end of a hugely promising first year at National League level.

READ MORE Challinor: We got what we deserved
The Coasters finished their debut campaign in seventh place, good enough for them to take part in the end-of-season play-offs.

However, they fell at the first hurdle last Thursday with a defeat to Boreham Wood, whose win at Sutton United on Sunday means they will meet Tranmere Rovers in Saturday’s final.

The winners will join champions Macclesfield Town in League Two next season, while Chesterfield and Barnet make the reverse journey following their relegations.

“I’m really proud of what we have done and what we have achieved this year,” said the Coasters’ manager.

“We had a real go, throughout the season and last week against Boreham Wood.

“Every single one of the lads gave everything they had and that’s all I can ask of them.

There is a niggling feeling of regret because of the poor goals that we conceded but to have even been in that position in the first place is huge testament to what we have done.

“Experiences, good or bad, have to be learned from and that will be the case for us.”

While disappointed to have lost last week, Challinor wants his players to use that post-match feeling as inspiration to go again next season and fulfil their Football League ambition.

“I think it is important when you have lost big games to watch the other team celebrate,” he said.

“It should drive the lads on and hopefully makes them more hungry for success.

There is no better way of getting promoted than through the play-offs, but there is also no worse way of a season ending than defeat at this stage.

“Our season has ended but it’s not the end of the world.

“Hopefully it will make us more motivated to evolve during the summer and right any wrongs from this season.

“We will have another go next season.

“It is only going to get tougher with the teams coming into the division but there should be a lot of belief in our dressing room and throughout the club and the fans that we are more than good enough to compete.”

The Coasters will look back on their season with their awards dinner on Friday, May 18.

Taking place at Churchill’s, Mill Farm, tickets are £55 each or £400 for a table of eight.

Contact James Watts on 01772 598855 for details.