AFC Fylde 1 Fleetwood Town 0

Fleetwood Town take the field at Kellamergh Park
Fleetwood Town take the field at Kellamergh Park
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Skipper Tom Hannigan led by example - masterminding a defensive shut out as AFC Fylde triumphed over their Football League neighbours.

Both sides looked understandably rusty under the bright summer sun - two months away from the grindstone proving a great leveller as the Coasters matches their League One visitors for effort and quality in the early stages.

In truth it was Fleetwood who applied most of the pressure, without the touch or vision around the box to turn possession into clear chances.

There were, however plenty of positives to take - not least a return to match action, after 11 months on the sidelines of striker Jamille Matt.

He came closest to breaking the deadlock early on, a cool touch taking him past Dominic Collins, the Coasters with just enough to cover.

At the other end Dave Challinor’s men were discovering openings of their own, perseverence from Danny Rowe very nearly rewarded when young centre half Max Cartwright misjudged a pass, Brendan Moore just about winning the race and denying the forward his shooting chance.

Town turned up the heat 20 minutes in, a flurry of chances coming the visitors’ way.

First Antoni Sarcevic found himself with space to shoot 20 yards out, delivering power but not direction.

Then Matt once again forced the issue inside the box, a crucial block delivering a corner from which Town could not capitalise.

The Coasters needed to respond and did when Rowe combined with Matty Hughes - a Fleetwood man last season.

A neat first time ball sent the striker past young full back Matty Williams, Town scrambling for a second as Hughes raced to the byline, unable to produce the finish the home crowd craved.

With the sun setting the energy levels were on the rise.

Jimmy Ryan’s industry in the midfield hadn’t gone unnoticed and his vision nearly produced the opener for Town, Matt picked out charging down the left, Ben Hinchcliffe with a good save to deny the striker.

It was AFC’s move and again they delivered, Richie Allen, another former Town man pulling the ball across for Dion Charles to head narrowly over.

Then a switch-off moment from Fleetwood defence opening the game up for Joey Mullen whose long range effort, Moore caught out, drifted just over the angle.

Fleetwood were forced into an early change, the strain of a full blooded game too much for Matt who was replaced by young frenchman Vamara Sanogo.

His job was a tough one, AFC defending resolutely and looking a danger on the break - that philosophy paying dividends just before the break.

Dion Charles found space to run, Cartwright and Danny Andrew losing their man, his long range blast flying across the face of goal, past the outstretched arm of Moore and into the far corner.

Town’s second half side was a complete change, only Sanogo remaining on the field.

There were changes too for the Coasters, Danny Lloyd and Matty Blinkhorn among them.

And the pair combined to trouble Town within seconds of the restart, the latter with a shot which failed to test Chris Maxwell, now between the sticks for the visitors.

The change put Fleetwood a little off their stride, the side struggling to match the first half pressure.

Things got decidedly attrition al, Fleetwood pushing but unable to make a dent in the Coasters’ back line.

It was a determined and admirable display, AFC rarely looking worried.

Even when Fleetwood produced a move of quality there was no let-up from the hosts.

Sanogo’s skill opened the hosts up down the right, Town’s second trialist on the end of the cross but closed down before he could properly pull the trigger.

The same man, playing wide on the left then launched a charging run, looking for a moment like he might go all the way only to be shut down by a stern Tom Hannigan challenge on the 18 yard line.

Jack Sowerby, formerly of Squires Gate, was next to try his luck, a stinging blast from outside the box almost catching Hinchcliffe out, a solid save denying the young striker.

Rolling subs are normally the preserve of five-aside nights at the park.

But the Coasters used the system to good effect, keeping their side fresh as Fleetwood kept up the pressure.

Sanogo should have levelled with eight minutes remaining, finding himself on the end of a clever ball to the back post but somehow dragging his effort wide.

AndJamie Proctor should have spared blushes at the death, Amari’i Bell breaking down the right, slipping the ball in to the near post, one touch too many from the striker proving decisive.