Lloyd keeps Challinor’s men at the summit

Danny Lloyd for Fylde
Danny Lloyd for Fylde
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AFC Fylde cemented top spot in the Evo-Stik Northner Premier with back-to-back away victories, Tuesday’s 1-0 success at Witton Albion following hot on the heels of Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Whitby Town.

The midweek win at Wincham Park came courtesy of Danny Lloyd converting Matty Blinkhorn’s cross on 34 minutes and consigned struggling Witton to a fifth home defeat already this season.

The first chance of the game did not arrive until the 17th minute, when Ben Hinchliffe had to be at full stretch to deny Josh Hancock from 20 yards.

Two minutes later, a woeful clearance from Hinchliffe allowed Sheehan to play in Andrews but he couldn’t find the target from just inside the area.

The Coasters managed to find their feet again as Lloyd surged forward on 28 minutes. The ball ran loose but Witton keeper Matthew Cooper gathered it just before Michael Barnes could pounce..

Fylde scored the all-important goal thanks to a great ball over the top of the Witton defence by Blinkhorn, which allowed Lloyd to race in and volley into the bottom right corner of the goal.

The Coasters came out for the second half determined not to throw that lead away and produced a good performance.

Michael Powell had the first effort of the half for Witton but he couldn’t keep his shot down, firing over from distance.

Lloyd couldn’t quite connect with a couple of good chances in the space of five minutes. For the first he couldn’t reach Blinkhorn’s cross towards the back post, then a poor clearance from Cooper allowed him to race through two defenders only for the keeper to recover and smother the ball at his feet.

Casper Hughes sent a searching free kick into the box on 62 minutes only for Andy Russell to turn it inches wide, but the best chance fell to Blinkhorn with 15 minutes to go.

Jack Dorney broke forward on half way and played in Harry Winter, who had time to square to Blinkhorn10 yards out but he sent his shot wide of the mark when it looked easier to score.

Joe Booth forced a good save out of Cooper before Witton’s only other meaningful shot of the half was headed over by Marc Joseph on 85 minutes. Then, in stoppage time, Booth directed Barnes’ cross against the bar from six yards.

Dave Challinor was pleased with the way his side collected yet another six points, saying after the game: “Midweek games are tough. They’ are never normally the prettiest of games and they are a bit of an arm wrestle at times. This one was no different against a team in a false position in the table.

“I thought defensively we were sound and we got the goal at a good time. We know we can get better and that’s a massive positive.

“We knew we needed to be at it and we knew what to expect from them. You become reliant on a little bit of individual brilliance in midfield and that goal gave us the break.”

The Coasters return to FA Cup action on Saturday when Ashton United visit Kellamergh Park in the second qualifying round tie.

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin (Rainford 75), Sumner, M. Hughes (C), Russell, C. Hughes, Denson, Winter, Blinkhorn (Booth 78), M. Barnes, Lloyd (Dorney 69); Subs not used: Hare, B. Barnes.

n Fylde beat Witton Albion 3-0 in their Lancashire FA Youth Cup first qualifying round tie and will visit Wrexham in the next stage. AFC Blackpool crashed out 6-1 to Chester.