Eastwood Town 1 AFC Fylde 4
FYLDE climbed to eighth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier after this comprehensive victory over the bottom club.
New signing Sean Cooke scored his first two goals for the club in the space of two first-half minutes to set the Coasters on their way to a fourth successive victory, before James Dean smashed home a brace of his own in the second half either side of a Vijay Selvam consolation.
James McCarthy set the tone with two attempts in the first 12 minutes, firing an audacious overhead kick over the bar from the edge of the Eastwood box before heading a free-kick into the arms of the thankful Richard Stainsby.
Paolo Piliero then sent the home side’s first real effort on goal high and wide from way out three minutes later.
Dean then tested the home keeper from a long way out on the left side but Stainsby caught it comfortably, and as the match reached the quarter mark Piliero forced a save from Ben Hinchliffe with a much better effort than his first.
But then Cooke showed his class in a two-minute spell that had Eastwood stunned.
McCarthy did all the hard work on the left side and sent a great ball into the box which Cooke happily smashed home for his first goal in Fylde colours.
He added his second just a minute later, when a brilliant through-ball from Booth tore the home defence in two and Cooke had time and space to fire past the onrushing Stainsby to make it 2-0 after only 23 minutes.
Eastwood captain Mitch Hanson had a chance to pull one back for the home side, but even though he managed to round the keeper he couldn’t beat Adam Sumner on the line six minutes on.
McCarthy came really close to adding a third six minutes before the break, when Stainsby almost spilled his cross into his own net. Cooke also came close to notching his hat-trick on half-time when he curled a free-kick inches wide of the post.
The second half was a more even affair but it took just 16 minutes for Fylde to add a third – Booth sending a well-worked cross into the box which Dean didn’t think twice about smashing past a motionless Stainsby from 12 yards.
But Eastwood pulled one back three minutes later, when Selvam got the last touch to Piliero’s free-kick as the Fylde defence stood still.
Cooke, still the liveliest player on the pitch, almost fashioned a chance from nothing on 70 minutes to secure his hat-trick. A poor square ball from Dean was over his head but he managed to turn two defenders and fire a shot from the edge of the area which had the keeper beaten but also the post.
The fourth eventually came for the visitors and it was Dean who added a second for himself, blasting home Aaron Fleming’s cross at the second attempt on 81 minutes.
Manager Dave Challinor was delighted that another win was chalked off at what could have been a tricky away tie, saying: “People said before the game that it was a chance for us to increase our goal difference but it was another game to add to our minimum target of 11 wins until the end of the season.
“Coming here it had a feel of the Stafford game, where we lost 4-2, it the pitch was always a leveller, but I knew that if we could get in front we had enough quality to finish it off.”
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Carden, Dunn, Dorney (B. Barnes 63), Booth (C) (Farrell 83), Dean, McCarthy (Fleming 74), Cooke; Subs not used: Taylor.