Match report: Torquay 1 AFC Fylde 3

Two goals from defender Jordan Tunnicliffe secured a deserved victory at Torquay United which lifted AFC Fylde to fourth in the National League.

Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 12:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 12:46 am
Jordan Tunnicliffe scores Picture: Steve McLellan

Don’t miss the latest football news and gossip from leagues in England, Scotland and Europe with Coasters were given an early scare when Brett Williams converted from the spot but Jack Muldoon’s leveller and Tunnicliffe’s double either side of the break sealed a fourth win on the spin for the visitors.Midfielder James Hardy was the only players to miss out from Saturday’s victory over Sutton United, replaced on the wing by Muldoon.The Coasters made a nightmare start in the driving rain, Zaine Francis-Angol skidding across the surface and taking out Jamie Reid right on the penalty spot. The ball was repositioned on the spot after the referee was given no choice and Williams coolly slotted into the bottom right corner. Williams would have spectacularly doubled his and Torquay’s tally had Jay Lynch not clawed his curling effort straight out of the top corner.After a slow start, the Coasters were starting to get their passing game going despite the difficult conditions and Muldoon had their first sight of goal when his shot on the turn was easily claimed by Ryan Clarke.The visitors’ pressure was building and their dominance paid dividends midway through the half. Danny Rowe let fly with a snapshot from 25 yards that deflected into the path of Muldoon, who lashed a first time effort into the bottom corner, albeit with a hint of offside.The comeback was complete within three minutes, when the Coasters added a second. Finley’s corner from the right made its way through for the unmarked Tunnicliffe to nod into the far corner.Torquay looked to put their opposition under pressure in any way they could after the break, preventing Lynch from taking goal-kicks. They almost made the most of one poor clearance by the keeper when Williams stuck from 40 yards, though Fylde's number one was back on his line in time. For all their huffing and puffing, the home side were struggling to create much - Josh Gowling’s far post header that flashed just wide the closest they came as the hour mark passed.Torquay were beginning to knock on the door with just over 20 minutes to play and the crowd were on their feet as the ball fell to Connor Lemonheigh-Evans on the edge of the area, but they slumped back into their seats as he skewed well wide. Challinor made a statement of intent, bringing off Rowe with 15 minutes to play as the Coasters aimed to shut up shop. McGinty headed over as the hosts launched another long ball into the box.However, just as the Gulls were starting to spread their wings, Fylde struck with a sucker punch 12 minutes from time. Simon Grand dug out a delightful cross from the left and there was defensive partner Tunnicliffe free inside the six-yard box, to cushion a header past Clarke. Williams drew the save of the match from Lynch almost straight from the restart when his powerful left-footed strike from 15 yards was turned over the bar. Finley almost put the icing on the cake in the dying stages when he fired a whisker over the bar and the Coasters held firm to strengthen their place in the play-offs.AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Bond, Montrose, Finley, Muldoon (Tasdemir 81), Smith (Blinkhorn 86), Rowe (Lawlor 74). Subs not used: Taylor, Hardy.Torquay: Clarke, Efete, Davis, McGinty, Gowling, Young, O’Sullivan (Dowling 70), Reid, Barnes (Keating 70), Lemonheigh-Evans, Williams. Subs not used: Dorel, Sokolik, BalatoniRef: Savvas YianniAtt: 1,416 (38 away)