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Match Reports

Fylde 1-2 Notts

Long header wins the day

3 March 2020

We returned to the Vanarama National League play-off places with a hard-fought 2-1 victory away to AFC Fylde.

It looked like we'd have to settle for a point after Jordan Williams had cancelled out Enzio Boldewijn's free-kick in the first half.

But our young loanee Adam Long played the role of hero, powering home a header late on to leave us sixth in the league.

Neal Ardley made five changes to the side that dismantled Aveley in the FA Trophy as Wes Thomas returned from suspension, joining Boldewijn, Cal Roberts, Richard Brindley and Mitch Rose in coming back into the starting XI.

Kristian Dennis took his place alongside Scott Wilson, Jim O’Brien, Tom Crawford and Pierce Bird on the substitutes’ bench.

We made a bright start to the match and Boldewijn claimed the first shot, bending an effort wide of the far post from just outside the area.

McDonnell made a simple save as the hosts issued an immediate response and, on 11 minutes, the keeper appeared to make a vital intervention to turn Tom Walker’s effort wide after the Fylde man had met a low cross at the near post.

But we soon had the lead when Dion Kelly-Evans was fouled 20 yards out, presenting Boldewijn with the chance to aim a free-kick at goal. His low effort was too much for home keeper Sam Hornby as the ball found the back of the net.

Boldewijn had eyes for a second and bobbled a 20-yard effort straight at Hornby as we looked to press home our dominance.

But Fylde had other ideas and restored parity on 18 minutes when Williams angled a low shot across goal and into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

That prompted a wave of opportunities for the hosts as Kurt Willoughby’s deflected effort flashed narrowly wide of the post before the subsequent corner had us scrambling the ball off our line.

Ryan Croasdale then dragged an effort wide before Williams turned a low cross off-target shortly afterwards.

We were struggling to regain control of the match and nearly found ourselves behind when Joe McDonnell raced into no man’s land only to lose his challenge and leave his net open. Michael Doyle got back on to the line to block the subsequent goalbound effort.

As half-time approached, Rose had an opportunity to fire us back into the lead when he received a cutback from Roberts on the edge of the area. He could only fire the ball over with his first-time effort.

We kept going and had another half-chance on 40 minutes when Wootton did well to nod Brindley’s cross back across goal towards Thomas. The forward stretched to control the ball but couldn’t quite bring it under his spell.

There were no changes at the break, despite Roberts needing treatment on his ankle in first-half injury time after being cynically brought down by Danny Philliskirk, who was booked.

After a cagey start to the second period, Willoughby struck the post with a curling effort from range.

Five minutes later, Ardley made his first change by sending O’Brien on for Roberts.

And moments after his introduction the Scot was denied a superb goal when his volley from the edge of the area was brilliantly tipped on to the crossbar by Hornby.

The game then entered another lull and Ardley saw fit to make a double substitution on 74 minutes, replacing Boldewijn and Roberts with Dennis and Wilson.

And moments later we had the lead once more as Long rose highest to meet O’Brien’s corner with a powerful header which found the net.

Luke Burke flashed a shot across goal and wide of the far post with a sweet strike shortly before the hosts were handed six added minutes in which to find an equaliser.

But in truth we looked the more likely side to score next and we nearly had a fortuitous third when Coasters sub Tyler French looped the ball off his own post as he tried to clear the ball under pressure from Dennis.

Wootton then fired an effort over the angle of post and crossbar as the clock continued to tick down.

And the referee's whistle followed shortly afterwards as we left Fylde with all three points.


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