AFC FYLDE 9 BOSTON UNITED 2: Match report and reaction

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AFC Fylde were on cloud nine after a sensational display maintained their four-point lead at the top of the National League North.

Talisman Danny Rowe grabbed four goals to bring his tally to 28 for the season, while strikes from Brendon Daniels (2), Andy Bond, James Hardy and Josh Langley secured a convincing victory in wintry conditions.

The hosts started brightly and were a whisker away from taking the lead when Sam Finley’s snapshot from 18-yards flew narrowly wide.

However, against the run of play Boston took the lead. After just 10 minutes Jay Rollins latched on to a long ball and rifled a crisp strike past Rhys Taylor.

The momentum had swung the way of the visitors and Taylor had to be alert to keep out Gregg Smith’s powerful header.

Their lead lasted just five minutes, though. Hardy broke down the right and squared for Daniels, who took a touch before placing the ball past Dion-Curtis Henry in the Boston goal.

Finley was close again when his well-struck shot landed on the roof of a relieved Henry’s goal.

The turnaround was complete inside 25 minutes, when Hardy’s defence-splitting pass found Bond racing into the area and the midfielder slid the ball underneath Henry.

Fylde stretched their advantage further on the half- hour mark and it was a third assist for Hardy. The young midfielder was played in by Bohan Dixon and his goalbound effort was smashed home at the back post by Rowe.

Hardy almost got himself on the scoresheet in spectacular fashion, when Macauley Wilson picked him out in the area but his backheel was scrambled clear by the keeper.

However, a minute later and the England C man had his goal. Rowe’s low cross was spilled by Henry and Hardy was on hand to collect the loose ball and fire into the corner of the goal.

Shortly before half-time the Coasters had five. Daniels’ cross from the left was deflected into the path of Rowe, who lashed his shot into the top corner from eight yards.

The scoreline was becoming increasingly embarrassing for the shellshocked visitors as Rowe completed his hat-trick before the half-time whistle, nodding home Bond’s cross from point-blank range for Fylde’s sixth.

Dixon took aim seconds after the restart but his low strike was cleared off the line.

Boston stunned the hosts when they pulled a surprise goal back three minutes into the second period, Rollins outmuscling Josh Langley and picking out the far corner for his secon.

Boston’s James Goode was lucky not to be given his marching orders when he scythed down the galloping Dixon but Rowe could only find the side-netting with the resultant free-kick.

Normality was resumed 10 minutes after the break, when the electric Hardy squared into the path of Rowe and his team-mate crashed the ball into the top corner first-time.

Daniels spurned two headed chances on the hour. However, the left winger redeemed himself two minutes later with his second of the afternoon.

Delightful interplay between Hardy and Finley saw the ball find Daniels on the left of the box and he slid the ball past the hapless goalkeeper.

Dixon was still looking for his first of the afternoon and wasn’t far off with a dipping volley, after being expertly picked out by Finley.

Substitute Matt Blinkhorn flicked a header over the bar as Fylde continued to dominate.

There was no let-up from the ruthless home side and keeper Henry had a moment to forget when he spilled Langley’s header and watched in despair as the ball rolled into the bottom corner.

Fylde almost made it double figures with five minutes to play, when right-back Wilson was put through by Matty Hughes but the Blackpool loanee lost his footing just before pulling the trigger.

Dixon shot powerfully from 12 yards but Henry made a stunning save.

Manager Dave Challinor took pride in his AFC Fylde side’s rampant victory over Boston.

The Coasters boss said: “It’s a win first and foremost and a very comprehensive and pleasing one.

“We asked them to go out and try to win the game early and to start with a real tempo. We did that. “We could have scored three goals but didn’t test the goalkeeper before we conceded a sloppy goal, but we got straight back into it through good play.

“Going into injury time in the first half at 4-1, they were potentially still in the game. To score the two goals in injury time really put the game to bed.

“Then it was about us answering questions about ourselves really, about our own attitude and our ruthlessness.

“In the first five to 10 minutes of the second half I thought we were sloppy – but aside from that we were fantastic.”

As for the challinging weather conditions, Challinor added: “The conditions weren’t that bad. I suppose it was different in that it obviously hailed for about 15 minutes.

“ I suppose the biggest concern would have been if the pitch had become unplayable.

“It was important was that we started the game well and go ourselves on to the front foot, so that even if the conditions did become slightly unplayable towards the end we were in a position not to take risks.”

DANIEL AGNEW

AFC Fylde: Taylor, Wilson, Langley, Williams, Kennedy, Bond, Finley (Baker 77), Dixon, Hardy (M. Hughes 69), Daniels, Rowe (Blinkhorn 69); Not used: Subs: Thompson, Collins.

Boston United: Henry, Goode (Peace-McDonald 55), Gordon, Miles, Brown, Robinson, Rollins, Maguire, Hilliard (Chippendale 74), Smith, Marshall (St Juste 81).

Not used: Vince, Johnson.

Ref: Martin Rawcliffe

Att: 1,503