Match report: Maidstone United 1 AFC Fylde 0
Fylde remain in the National League play-off zone despite this disappointing defeat at struggling Maidstone.
Midfielder Blair Turgott capitalised on Simon Grand’s first-half mistake to score the only goal and ease the Stones' relegation fears.The Coasters drop just one place to fifth with two to play as the three teams now immediately below them also lost.Manager Dave Challinor was forced to change the side that had recorded a fourth straight win at Torquay in midweek, with James Hardy replacing Sam Finley in the centre of the park.Grand almost gifted the hosts a goal in the opening minute when he dawdled on the ball and lost out to Turgott. However, the Fylde defender was relieved to see the through-ball ushered out for a goal kick by Luke Burke.Hardy got himself into a dangerous position at the other end and fizzed in a low cross that was just out of reach of three white shirts. Burke was perhaps a little lucky not to concede a penalty on seven minutes, when he eased Michael Phillips off the ball. a roar went up from the crowd but referee Alan Dale was having none of it. The bright start to the match continued in the sunshine and Danny Rowe was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring a minute later, when he received the ball from Jack Muldoon on the edge of the area before seeing a left-footed strike deflected inches around the post.Home striker Andre Coker was causing the Fylde real problems, first hitting a volley straight at Jay Lynch before beating three men down the left and winning a corner.Chances were flowing for both sides as Andy Bond lashed a wicked strike into the side-netting.The winning goal arrived in the 23rd minute and the Coasters were the masters of their own downfall. Grand’s loose ball across the back was gleefully intercepted by Turgott, who skipped through and slotted a low strike past Lynch.Coker was close to doubling the lead on the half-hour, when he burst past Grand and Jordan Tunnicliffe before he was thwarted by the feet of Lynch.Lynch was certainly the busier keeper and had to be alert when Coker slipped in Jamar Loza, producing a strong hand at the near post to keep out the winger.Tunnicliffe was next to keep the rampant hosts at bay, nodding Phillips’ goalbound header off the line.After a spell of dominance from the home side, Fylde broke quickly through Jonny Smith, who ghosted past his man but his shot was blocked at the near-post by Lee Worgan. The last chance of the half saw Phillips clear Fylde substitute Jake Lawlor’s volley off the lineBristol City loanee Smith went close twice after the restart, beating the offside trap to fire a warning shot which cleared the bar by inches, then seeing a 20-yard drive deflected around a post.Rowe’s strike from the resulting corner suffered a similar fate as the visitors started to dominate.Even so, Lynch had to pull off one of the saves of the season when he turned Joe Anderson’s thumping free-kick against a postThe visitors were controlling the play but the hosts spurned a glorious chance to double their lead when Tunnicliffe slpped but the leaping Turgott failed to pick out Coker with the goal at his mercy.Young Serhat Tasdemir replaced Rowe as Challinor looked to freshen up his tired troops and the 17-year-old tricked his way into a shooting position inside the area but his effort was blocked.Most of the teams below Fylde chasing play-offs spots have one or two games in hand, but victory in their remaining matches at home to Solihull Moors and away at Wrexham will guarantee the Coasters a top-seven spot.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand (Lawlor 29), Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Hardy (Blinkhorn 67), Muldoon, Smith, Rowe (Tasdemir 72); Subs not used: Jones, Taylor.Maidstone: Worgan, Hare, Finney, Wynter, Loza (Wraight 82), Lewis, Anderson, Turgott, Havilland, Coker (Luer 87), Phillips (Reason 80); Subs not used: Prestedge, PaxmanAtt: 2254 (39 away)Ref: Alan Dale