Bradford (Park Avenue) 0 AFC Fylde 2: Coasters' captain at the double

The Coasters saw off a well-organised Bradford (Park Avenue) outfit at the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a second-half brace from captain Alex Whitmore

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 12:30 pm

Whitmore chose the perfect time to grab his first goal of the season when he nodded his side into the lead six minutes into the second half.

He then bagged his second goal of the game with another composed header on the hour mark.

It took just four minutes for the visitors to spark into life, Nick Haughton seeing his 30-yard free-kick tipped around the post by keeper Jonny Saltmer.

Alex Whitmore celebrates finding the net with AFC Fylde team-mate Nick Haughton Picture: Steve McLellan

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Fylde winger Sam Osborne, who caused problems all afternoon, was then presented with a good chance to open his account for the club, but Saltmer was on hand to save at his near post.

Coasters’ debutant Dan Pike drove forward from the full-back role on seven minutes and saw his goalbound strike blocked by Mitch Lund.

Soon after, Saltmer saved Osborne’s shot from a tight angle following good play from Haughton.

Midway through the first half, Luke Joyce headed Haughton’s corner back into the danger zone where Osborne hooked his shot straight at the goalkeeper from close range.

The best chance of the first half came the way of Jamie Stott and Whitmore, but neither could stab home the opener from three yards after Haughton’s corner had caused havoc inside the home penalty area.

A dominant first half drew to a close with Jack Sampson flicking Haughton’s wicked cross just over Saltmer’s crossbar as the teams were level at the break.

The second period started much as the first had ended as Haughton almost broke the deadlock with a long-range effort that flew wide.

Moments later, the opener arrived through Whitmore.

Haughton drilled the ball into the centre of the six-yard box and the defender thumped a header into the top corner, giving his side a well-deserved advantage.

Eight minutes later, Whitmore netted his second in meeting another Haughton delivery at the back post and, again, making no mistake with his head.

The hosts immediately looked for a way back into the game.

They came close five minutes later when Luke Rawson fired towards goal from seven yards but his powerful strike was somehow saved by Chris Neal.

Osborne continued to be a nuisance down the Fylde right-hand side and smartly worked room for himself to pull the trigger from the edge of the area, only for his effort to fly agonisingly wide of the far post.

The hosts began to ramp up the tempo with Neal having to keep his concentration to turn Jordan Windass’ 35-yard free-kick around the post for a corner.

Ben Tollitt looked to extend Fylde’s advantage with seven minutes remaining, but Saltmer got down well to keep out the winger’s low strike.

The Coasters valiantly saw out the remainder of the match and returned to the top of the National League North table with a professional performance on the day.

Bradford Park Avenue: Saltmer, Ross, Windass, Marriott, Havern, Lund, Mottley-Henry, Guilfoyle (Downing 68), Rawson, Odunston (Johnson 77), Clee (Nowakowski 79). Subs not used: Toulson, Dockerty.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Pike, Whitmore, Stott, Conlan, Joyce, Perkins, Osborne (Nolan 77), Tollitt (Holland-Wilkinson 90), Haughton (Robinson 87), Sampson. Subs not used: Jones, Obi.

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