Match report: AFC Fylde 2 Maidstone United 0

Neill Byrne is congratulated after his opening goal for the Coasters       Picture: Steve McLellan
Neill Byrne is congratulated after his opening goal for the Coasters Picture: Steve McLellan
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AFC Fylde returned to winning ways in the National League with a 2-0 victory against Maidstone United at Mill Farm.

A flicked header from Neill Byrne and Arlen Birch’s 30-yard rocket strengthened the Coasters’ position in the play-off places and extended their unbeaten run to seven games.

Dave Challinor made two changes to the side that drew at Chesterfield last weekend.

Tom Brewitt and Jim Kellermann made way for Andy Bond and James Hardy who was coming back from England C duty.

The visitors started brightly and had the first chance of the game.

A low cross from the right from Jake Cassidy was met by new signing Jack Powell, who slipped as his effort went wide of the near post.

Fylde responded and a corner whipped in by Joe Cardle was met by Neill Byrne, who had his header headed off the line by Jack Paxman.

On 20 minutes, Cardle caused more problems for the visitors as his cross from the left was met by Hardy but his header lacked the power to test Lee Worgan.

The dangerous Blair Turgott came into the game for the visitors and had a low shot from the edge of the box well saved by Jay Lynch, who rushed out to deny Cassidy a clear-cut chance just a couple of minutes later.

Fylde almost went in front on the brink of half-time as a Birch cross was diverted inches wide of his own net by Nana Twumasi.

Maidstone started the second half the brighter and almost profited from some sloppy passing by the Coasters.

Turgott had a good chance from 12 yards but the visitors best chance fell to Paxman, whose volley from 18 yards came back off the post and was cleared by Jordan Tunnicliffe.

A superb pass on the turn from Cardle presented Bond with a glorious chance, one-on-one with Worgan, but he fired over from 12 yards to the disappointment of the home crowd.

With 25 minutes to go the Coasters made their first change with Ashley Hemmings replacing Bond.

The summer signing from Salford made his mark on the game within minutes of coming on.

The deadlock was broken on 68 minutes when Hemmings’ corner to the near post was met by Byrne, who flicked his header past Worgan to claim his first Coasters goal.

Hardy and Danny Philliskirk tried their luck with efforts from range before the hosts made the game safe in style.

A corner from Cardle was cleared as far as Ryan Croasdale who played the ball back to Birch.

The full-back tried his luck from 30 yards and he rifled the ball home into the bottom left corner to also claim his first goal for the club.

The final whistle blew to confirm a sixth win in eight home games as the Coasters made ground on the leaders in the National League.

Fylde move up one place to sixth on 29 points, just five points behind joint leaders Salford City and Wrexham.

The Coasters’ next game sees the start of their FA Cup campaign as they welcome Chesterfield to Mill Farm on Saturday.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Birch, Tunnicliffe, Byrne, Francis-Angol, Croasdale, Philliskirk, Bond (Hemmings 66), Hardy (Brewitt 90), Cardle, Rowe. Subs not used: Tasdemir, Kellermann, Burke.

Maidstone United: Worgan, Twumasi (Omotayo 80), De Havilland, Walton, Finney, Doyle (Phillips 86), Muldoon (Wilson 80), Powell, Paxman, Turgott, Cassidy. Subs not used: McLennan, Durojaiye.

Referee: Matthew Dicicco

Attendance: 1,507.