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Match report: AFC Fylde 2 Halifax Town 0

James Hardy scored for Fylde
James Hardy scored for Fylde
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AFC Fylde moved within two points of the National League play-off places with a comfortable Mill Farm victory.

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Halifax kept their free-scoing hosts at bay in a tight opening half but two quickfire goals shortly after the break from Jonny Smith and James Hardy sealed the points.

Fylde boss Challinor made just one change to the side beaten at Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday, with Zaine Francis-Angol back from international duty to replace Jordan Flores.

The Coasters went close to making a breakthrough inside the first minute, when Jack Muldoon broke away and squared the ball to Hardy, who sliced his left-footed effort wide.

The Shaymen hit back with a glorious chance of their own moments later. Francis-Angol was dispossessed on the halfway line, allowing Connor Thomson to bear down on goal, but after cutting inside he lashed a vicious strike just wide of the near post.

The early chances were coming thick and fast and the hosts should have been ahead on five minutes, when a loose ball fell kindly to Muldoon eight yards out but his first-time effort clipped a post.

The visitors were forced into an early change when danger man Matty Kosylo limped off to be replaced by Jake Hibbs.

National League top scorer Danny Rowe had his first sight of goal on the quarter-hour but his 20-yard effort was wide of the mark.

The lively Muldoon had another shooting opportunity from a similar position, when expertly picked out by Hardy, but this time his strike was deflected around the same post.

Rowe looked certain to add to his 22 league goals shortly before the half-hour, when he cut inside his man from the right but Matty Brown made a fantastic challenge with the frontman set to pull the trigger.

Hardy was another looking dangerous for the Coasters and slapped a shot from distance towards the Halifax goal that was well claimed by the stretching Sam Johnson.

Right-back Luke Burke was close to sending the home side into the break the happier but his curling strike from 18 yards was a whisker wide of the far post.

Smith went equally close with the final kick of the half, when he delayed in the box before spinning and firing narrowly over from 10 yards.

Fylde made a dream start to the second period, taking the lead two minutes in when Smith’s cross from the left sneaked straight into the far corner of the Halifax goal.

The hosts took just seven minutes to double their lead. Hardy opted out of hitting a loose ball first time, instead taking a touch before drilling a precise effort past goalkeeper Sam Johnson into the far corner.

Left-back Francis-Angol went close to adding a third when Rowe whipped a ball out wide but his looping effort dropped narrowly wide of the far post.

The killer goal should have arrived 20 minutes from time, when first Muldoon somehow headed against the bar from four yards before Jordan Tunnicliffe saw his shot on the rebound deflected wide from a similar distance.

Lewis Montrose's header was comfortably saved by Johnson as the Coasters kept up pressure, but the third goal proved elusive as Muldoon powered Smith’s cut-back into the clutches of the grateful keeper.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol (Taylor 76), Bond, Montrose, Hardy (Tasdemir 76), Muldoon, Smith, Rowe (Jones 84); Subs not used: Blinkhorn, Lawlor.

Halifax: Johnson, Brown, Kosylo (Hibbs 11), Hotte, McManus, Tomlinson, Thomson, Graham, Collins, Duckworth, Fondop (Tuton 62); Subs not used: Nicholson, Moyo, Maher.

Ref: Karl Evans

Att: 2,330