Tamworth 1 AFC Fylde 0: Match report and reaction
AFC Fylde remain top of the National League North but their lead has been cut to a single point after tasting defeat for the first time this season.
Daniel Newton’s strike midway through the second half condemned the Coasters, who had a late goal disallowed, to defeat at the Lamb Ground.
Dave Challinor made just one change to the side that saw off promotion rivals Harrogate Town last time out with Dan Bradley coming in for the injured Dom Collins.
The hosts had the opening chance of the game when Greg Mills was played in down the left before cutting inside and firing a low strike at Rhys Taylor.
Fylde were handed a huge let off after Taylor palmed a strike into the path off Mills but his vicious first time effort was cleared off the line by Tom Kennedy.
Despite a succession of Coasters’ corners, Tamworth were the only side testing the goalkeeper during the early exchanges as Newton was denied by the legs of Taylor.
Rowe had his first real sight of goal on the quarter-hour mark when he launched a powerful shot that looped up off a defender and over the bar.
Tamworth were a whisker from taking the lead on 23 minutes when Newton robbed Josh Langley on the edge of the area and rifled a sweet left footed strike narrowly over the bar.
Sam Finley hit back with a chance for the visitors but his ambitious curling strike from 25 yards was just over.
Fylde should have been in front soon after when Rowe cut in from the right and curled a wicked left-footed effort at the Tamworth goal that agonisingly crashed back off the crossbar.
Challinor’s side were allowing the host’s far too much space down their right and full-back Stephen Morley almost punished them with a rasping drive the flew narrowly over the top.
The game continued to flow end-to-end and Rowe wasn’t far off with a glancing header from Bradley’s left wing cross as the match approached the break.
The second period kicked off in scrappy fashion with the man in the middle attracting more attention from the supporters than either of the two teams.
Mills fired one from distance but Taylor could watch it sail over as neither side really threatened.
Dixon hit one from a similar distance as the hour-mark approached however it was comfortable for James Belshaw in the Tamworth goal.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 66 minute and it was a disappointment for Fylde. Ellis Deeney floated a free-kick into the box and the unmarked Newton had the simple task of tapping home from close range.
Bradley looked to make amends when he evaded several challenges on the edge of the box but Belshaw got down well to his eventually strike. Even Rowe’s usually reliable shooting was off colour as his powered a 30-yard attempt wide of the right hand post.
The Coasters had the ball in the back of the net with eight minutes remaining when Langley poked home at the back post however the defender was deemed offside by the officials.
Newton was close to a second for former Blackpool favourite Andy Morrell’s Lambs with just five minutes to play but was denied by the legs of Taylor before Ged Davis was similarly kept out by the Fylde stopper from the resultant corner.
The lively frontman should have wrapped up the match in injury time when he beat Danny Holmes inside the area but once again Taylor came to the rescue with a smart stop at close range.
AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor acknowledged that his side’s 15-match unbeaten start to the National North season was bound to end eventually and he wasn’t too downhearted over the display at Tamworth.
Challinor said: “We’re disappointed to lose. I think that we did more than enough to get something out of the game. It was just one of those games for us.
“No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t get a break. They’ve defended well, if you like. They’ve got in blocks but we created lots of situations, lots of opportunities and we just couldn’t stick the ball in the net today.
“Sometimes that happens. I suppose if we’re being ultra-critical, the one thing you’ve got to do is make sure you go away with a0-0. Again, we haven’t done our job from a free-kick and that’s ultimately cost us the game.
“I thought we were solid. We’ve just been undone by one free-kick. It’s a decent ball in and you have to defend it.
“We are expansive in the way we play and have lots of attacking players on the pitch, but that can’t be at the detriment of keeping the ball out of our net.
“We weren’t daft enough to think that we’d go the whole season undefeated. The end of one run is the start of another as far as I’m concerned.
“We’ll do everything we can to make sure we’re fully prepared to go and winat home to Stalybridge on Saturday.”