Dave Challinor can count on flair players as AFC Fylde bid to seal play-off spot at Braintree
AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor showered his flair players with praise after they dug in and did the ugly side of the game in Tuesday night’s impressive win at Gateshead.
The Coasters claimed a second successive win with a 1-0 victory in the North East, Nick Haughton scoring his second in as many games.
While the midfielder’s moment of quality made the difference, Challinor was also delighted with how his front men performed.
The Fylde boss said: “We’ve got players up at the top end of the pitch who are match-winners for us. At times they can be frustrating because they’re encouraged to try things which sometimes won’t come off.
“If I look back at the course of the time Nick has been here, he’s probably had 50 shots like that and this is maybe the second one that has gone in, so it was only a matter of time.
“With the attacking threats we have, you always know there’s a matchwinner there for us and we needed one to step up, which Nick did.
“I don’t think it was really a game where we were at our fluent best but the work -rate of our flair players epitomised our performance.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been critical but I’ve been frustrated with what they give us out of possession.
“Danny Rowe is disappointed because he wants to score and he likes to score, and he thinks that is his job. But he led the line unbelievably well and worked his socks off. Sometimes you’re not going to have good games or have chances but it’s for the good of the team.
“We asked Dan Bradley to do a job at wing-back, when we changed it a little bit, and he was having to chase their lad back, which he did brilliantly.
“This game wasn’t about brilliant football, it was about the work rate and the desire to hold on and get a result. You have to do that, especially on Tuesday nights after the elation of an open game on Saturday.
“It’s always difficult coming a long way on a Tuesday topaly a team who I thought were a credit to their manager and to themselves.
“Everyone knows about the issues and the problems they’ve had off the pitch but they’ve kept going.
“They’re a credit to themselves and their families for the way they’ve got on with it in really difficult circumstances. We’ve had to match that to get the three points.”
The victory saw Fylde climb above Wrexham into fourth place and Challinor’s men remain six points behind leaders Leyton Orient with four to play.
When asked if automatic promotion is still possible, Challinor said: “I don’t think it is for us, if I’m being honest.
“The only team (above us) we can really affect is Salford City because we still have them to play (on Easter Monday) but we would still be reliant on them dropping points elsewhere. It could happen but I’m a realist.
“I would have taken four points out of these two away games but we’ve started with three, so we’re ahead of the game.
“We can now go to Braintree (on Saturday) and look to pick up another three. If we do that, then that will secure is in there (the play-off zone).
“After that the last three games are a free-hit. We’ll try to go and win them, and maybe we can potentially look at what other teams are doing and where we may be able to finish.
“It’s about finishing as high as we can and the only thing we can control is our results an performances, so we just have to focus on them.”
Fylde make the long trip down to Essex this weekend to take on a Braintree Town side that sit bottom of the National League table and whose relegation has already been confirmed.