Jim Bentley: AFC Fylde missed captain Alex Whitmore at Curzon Ashton as away form causes concern

Manager Jim Bentley admits the absence of captain Alex Whitmore was immediately felt as AFC Fylde conceded their first set-piece goal all season to seal a 2-1 defeat at Curzon Ashton last weekend.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 4:45 pm

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Dale Whitham headed home a corner with 20 minutes remaining to consign the National League North leaders to back-to-back away defeats.

Fylde were without Whitmore for the first time this season after the centre-back suffered a hamstring injury during the home win over Gateshead a week earlier.

Danny Philliskirk took the captain's armband for Fylde in the absence of Alex Whitmore

Bentley said: “We haven’t dealt with a long ball, it’s gone out for a corner and they’ve scored. We haven’t conceded a goal all season or in pre-season from a set-play and that’s credit to the lads. Whits has been a massive part of that with his organisation and leadership skills.

“You want everyone else to step up to the plate but on that occasion the lad has got in to score.

“We huffed and puffed (in the closing stages) but Curzon got everything right. They were looking to impress a new manager and had a home crowd behind them.”

That new manager was Adam Lakeland, who a fortnight earlier had been in charge of the Farsley Celtic side that inflicted Fylde’s first league defeat of 2021.

Bentley said of those successive setbacks: “There’s a little bit of a worry with our form on the road. We will have to come up against certain things thrown our way, like direct play, counter-attacks and set-plays.

“It’s about how we react and we haven’t done that well enough today. We can be positive, have a good week and improve.”

No such problems at home for Fylde, who are unbeaten at Mill Farm in more than 20 months and welcome their closest challengers Brackley Town on Saturday. The Northamptonshire club had a chance to pull level with Fylde at the top last night, with a home game against Spennymoor Town.

Bentley added: “Are we capable of beating Brackley? Certainly. We’ve won a lot of games at home and hopefully it’s another three points but they will have a go.

“They are second for a reason. We went to watch them in the FA Cup recently and they are a capable side, who will ask questions of us.

“So we have to wrap them up and do what we have to to score goals and hopefully win the game.

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