Farsley Celtic 1 AFC Fylde 0: First league defeat for 10-man Coasters
The Coasters fell to their first league defeat of the season at The Citadel, having won seven and drawn two of their first nine in National League North.
James Hanson’s seventh-minute opener turned out to be the winner and Fylde's cause was not helped by the dismissal of Danny Philliskirk in the second half.
Jim Bentley made one change to his side that beat Gloucester City by the same score a week earlier, with Nathan Shaw returning to the starting XI after injury in place of Ethan Walker.
The hosts started the brighter and soon made their pressure count when a mix-up in the Coasters defence led to Hanson lifting the ball over an onrushing Neal.
Farsley grew in confidence after the goal, and when Will Hayhurst was fouled by Shaw on the edge of the Fylde area. Jordan Richards took the free-kick which Neal held well.
Bentley’s side looked to impose themselves on the game and that led to Luke Conlan whipping a cross in towards Nick Haughton, who headed over from close range.
A fine passing move eventually saw the ball reach Danny Philliskirk out wide. He fizzed a cross across the face of goal for what looked a certain reply but the visitors were adjudged offside.
Again the Coasters looked sure to equalise when Celtic keeper Harry Wright spilled the ball in his six-yard box. Striker Joe Piggott was quick to the loose ball but somehow it stayed out.
Moments before the break, Piggott went down in the box but the referee waved away the penalty shouts.
The half-time interval allowed the Coasters to regroup and Bentley’s men came out on the front foot.
However, the first chance of the half fell for the hosts when Hanson met a cross from the left and headed towards the bottom corner. Neal was equal to it, getting down well to deny him a second.
Philliskirk was the first player into the book for a foul on the halfway line and moments later he saw red.
Fylde skipper Alex Whitmore was elbowed by Hanson and Philliskirk's words to the referee saw him receive his marching orders for dissent.
The visitors still pushed to get back into what was becoming an end-to-end game, though Dave Syers nearly doubled Farsley’s lead with a strike that whistled inches past the far post.
Celtic substitute Luke Parkin went close four minutes from time, when he worked the ball onto his right foot and brought a fantastic save from Neal.
Haughton created a final chance for the Coasters when he weaved his way towards the penalty area, drawing players to him, and fed Conlan out wide.
However, he opted for a first-time cross to the back post but the ball ran out for a goal-kick.
Fylde retain their one-point lead at the top of the table, with second-placed Brackley Town out of action for Covid-related reasons.
The Coasters can stretch their lead at home to third-placed Spennymoor Town on Tuesday.
Farsley Celtic: Wright, Richards, Hayhurst, Barton, Allan, Clayton, Syers, Turner, Walton (Loughlan 82), Spencer (Blyth 89), Hanson (Parkin 75); Subs not used: Kherbouche, Blythe, Westcarr.
AFC Fylde: Neal, Philliskirk, Whitmore, Stott, Conlan, Perkins (Dobbie 66), Joyce, Shaw (Sampson 74), Haughton, Tollitt (Osborne 90), Piggott; Subs not used: Jones, Obi.
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