We're not in play-offs yet warns AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor ahead of tough trip to Gateshead

Nick Haughton celebrates his goal against Eastleigh Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Nick Haughton celebrates his goal against Eastleigh Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
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AFC Fylde appear to be closing in on a National League play-off spot but manager Dave Challinor insists they still have work to do.

READ MORE: Challinor's praise for Fylde players after fightback against Eastleigh
The Coasters’ priceless 4-2 win over promotion rivals Eastleigh on Saturday consolidated fifth spot, with a six-point cushion in the play-off zone and a game in hand on Ebbsfleet in eighth.

That fixture is played tonight, when Fylde make the trip to the north-east to take on a Gateshead side still in with a shot of finishing in the top seven.

While the league table makes for positive reading for Fylde fans, Challinor wants his side to claim as many points as possible in their remaining five games.

The Fylde boss said of their latest victory: “I’m not sure it puts us all but assured in the play-offs but it’s a massive win.

“Our next two games are really important for us – two tough trips on Tuesday and Saturday (to Braintree Town).

“Hopefully then I’ll be able to say that’s our play-off position secured, and we can look forward to the last three games and see where they take us. I said before the Eastleigh game we’ve got to take seven or nine points from these three games and we’ve started off by getting three.

“With two tough away games coming up, I’d take four points, though if I’m being greedy I want six.

“But four consolidates and probably secures our play-off position before heading into three games at the end of the season where we will look to get as many points as possible to finish second or third to give us the best chance in the play-offs.

“At the minute, although we’re in there we’re not guaranteed, so we need to keep pushing.

“This win takes us over to 72 points which is great. We will try to beat our total from last year (73), which with five games to go we should do.”

Fylde came from two goals down to record the win against Eastleigh, while Jay Lynch also made a vital penalty save while the away side led 2-1.

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

Challinor added: “We showed a huge amount of character and it was a thoroughly deserved three points.

“Their goals were cheap goals to concede. We knew they would be a threat from set-pieces and they were. They’re a big side.

“But the manner of the goals and the fact they’ve got two free headers – granted they’re decent headers – was disappointing.

“Just 15 minutes on the clock and we’re really up against it, but we’ve got ourselves a goal to get back into it and from that point we controlled the game a lot better.

“The penalty decision summed up our first half really. We spoke about playing a little bit different, with a different shape. We wanted to start the game on the front foot because in the last few weeks we’ve been a bit tepid in possession. We’ve kept the ball a lot but played it backwards and sideways.

“I wanted us to play with urgency. I said to the players there’s a fine line between urgency and panic, and for the first 20 minutes or so it was panic. When you panic and concede two, that panic at times gets worse and worse.

“So it took an awful lot of composure to get us back into it, but I do think the save from the penalty gave us something palpable to hold on to going into half-time.

“In the second half I thought we were fantastic. We scored three goals but could have got a whole lot more. The manner of the goals was really pleasing.”