Guiseley 2 AFC Fylde 4: Two for Ben Tollitt and Nick Haughton in Coasters' winning start

AFC Fylde kicked off the 2021/22 National League North campaign in style, producing a dominant second-half display to overcome a gritty Guiseley at Nethermoor Park.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 8:04 am

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A brace for Ben Tollitt and two Nick Haughton penalties powered the Coasters to their first victory of the new campaign, while a spot-kick by Jordan Thewlis and a late strike from captain Hamza Bencherif proved only consolatory for the Lions.

Manager Jim Bentley gave debuts to experienced midfielder Luke Joyce and loanee defender Jamie Stott, while Jordan Hulme and Emeka Obi missed out through suspension and injury.

Two-goal Ben Tollitt (left) celebrates with Luke Conlan and fellow Fylde brace ace Nick Haughton at Guiseley

The hosts looked the better team in the early exchanges and they almost took the lead after just two minutes.

Jacob Grattom broke away from Alex Whitmore but his low strike was well saved by the feet of Fylde goalkeeper Chris Neal.

Against the run of play, Fylde took the lead as a deep Luke Burke cross was toed into Ben Tollitt’s path by striker Jack Sampson and the winger calmly converted at the back post.

Fylde’s Nathan Shaw went down off the ball on 13 minutes and eventually hobbled off the field with what looked like a hamstring issue.

Neal was called into action again after 17 minutes, once again denying Thewlis from 18 yards after the midfielder cut in from the left wing.

The scoreline was levelled on 21 minutes, after Sam Osborne was adjudged to have handled inside the penalty area, giving Guiseley’s dangerman Thewlis the opportunity to slot home from 12 yards.

Fylde responded well, with Haughton almost volleying into the bottom corner under pressure. However, the number 10’s acrobatic effort was just a foot wide of the mark.

Two more chances came The Coasters’ way before half-time but both Haughton and Whitmore were unable to beat Jordan Amissah in the Lions’ goal.

The second half started in cagey fashion, with neither team carving out any opportunities until the 52nd minute, when Haughton’s long-range free-kick flew harmlessly over the crossbar.

Six minutes later and Fylde were back in the driver’s seat thanks to another Tollitt goal.

Cutting in on his favoured right foot, Tollitt unleashed an effort from 22 yards out and beat the keeper via a heavy deflection.

Fylde began to dominate proceedings and extended their advantage just four minutes later.

The ever-dangerous Tollitt was allowed too much time in the penalty area, but before he could pull the trigger Lebrun Mbeka pulled him to the ground and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Haughton stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, and in turn sent the travelling Coasters fans into raptures behind the goal.

Fylde pressure paid off again, with another penalty being awarded for handball. In similar fashion to the first, Haughton struck his penalty into the bottom right corner, despite the best efforts of Amissah to keep it out.

The Lions rallied and began to throw more bodies forward in search of a way back into the game. It took excellent defensive headers by substitute Liam Nolan and captain Alex Whitmore to keep the three-goal lead in tact.

That gap was eventually reduced, though, as defender Bencherif found room inside the 18-yard box and squeezed the ball under Neal before Bentley’s side saw out the victory.

Fylde: Neal, Burke, Conlan, Whitmore, Stott, Shaw (Osborne 13), Joyce, Philliskirk, Tollitt, Haughton (Nolan 80), Sampson (Dobbie 86): Subs not used: Jones, Perkins

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