AFC Fylde were down to 10 men when they conceded the winning goal in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Bromley but manager Dave Challinor refused to use that as an excuse.
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The Coasters boss focused instead on “shambolic defending”, insisting JJ Hooper’s winning goal for the London club was one “we shouldn't have conceded with nine men, never mind 10.”
Fylde found themselves undermanned because loanee Mason Bloomfield had fractured an arm on his debut after Challinor had already used his three substitutions.
The attacker from Norwich was one of two half-time changes made by Fylde, who were then forced to replace injured full-back Luke Burke after an hour.
Bloomfield’s injury resulted in an extended break, meaning there were still 22 minutes to play after Hooper’s 81st-minute winner but Fylde couldn’t force an equaliser.
Challinor also felt his side should have built on a splendid start. He added: “I thought we started really well and were excellent for 20 minutes.
“But the game was too easy if anything and we got sloppy.
“We knew they were a big threat from set-pieces and the game changed in two minutes – we went from 1-0 up and coasting to 2-1 down.
“It was good to get our lot in at half-time,then we made the changes and started the second half really well.
“We equalised and got on the front foot, but then we were dictated to by an injury in the full-back area and had to make a change.
“Then we went down to 10 men, but regardless of that we were shambolic in my opinion.
“We have taken plaudits for our defending this season but we should not have conceded that winning goal, that’s the frustrating thing.
“We kept going and you hope you will get another chance. It came (for Nick Haughton) deep in injury time but we have not stuck it away.”
With no league fixture this weekend – Fylde are at home to Bedfordshire club Biggleswade Town in the second round of the FA Trophy – the club have two weeks to nurse their injuries and perhaps boost their squad ahead of the crunch National League clash with Wrexham at Mill Farm on January 19.
The third-placed Welsh club are currently two places and three points better off than Fylde from one fewer game.
Wrexham play their game in hand at Bromley tomorrow (Tuesday).
It’s no surprise that Bromley boss Neil Smith didn’t share Challinor’s view of a winning goal he called “exquisite”.
He also praised his mid-table side for staying focused despite the long delay following Bloomfield’s injury.
Smith said: “The boys showed great resilience. I hope Bloomfield is OK but you have to stay focused against 10 men, especially with someone like Danny Rowe in their side.
“You can switch off when there are long breaks but Frankie Raymond’s ball for last goal was exquisite and that was a winner which would grace any game.”