AFC Fylde cut open by rampant Rovers

Sam Finley went close to scoring for AFC Fylde against Tranmere Rovers
Sam Finley went close to scoring for AFC Fylde against Tranmere Rovers

AFC Fylde suffered a 4-1 defeat in their final outing of pre-season at the hands of Tranmere Rovers ahead of the season opener against AFC Telford United next weekend.

Early goals from Andy Cook, Darren Stephenson and Adam Mekki gave the National League side an unassailable lead and while Fylde captain Steve Williams pulled one back for the hosts, Jay Harris put the match to bed midway through the second half.

The match sprang to life after just 80 seconds when Cook opening the scoring in spectacular fashion.

Williams’ headed clearance fell kindly to the frontman and he lashed home on the half-volley from 20 yards.

Coasters’ trialist James Caton looked to make immediate amends but his strike across goal was wide of the far post.

The visitors doubled their lead on 15 minutes in bizarre circumstances.

A poor kick out from the trialist goalkeeper went straight to Darren Stephenson on the edge of the area and he had the simple job of crashing the ball past the helpless keeper.

Tranmere were starting to run away with it and added a third goal inside 25 minutes.

Striker Mekki found himself in space to the left of the Fylde box and unleashed a rasping first-time effort that looped into the far corner.

Mekki was causing the Coasters’ backline countless problems and fired another strike towards the top corner from distance but, this time, the keeper tipped the ball over.

Fylde frontman Danny Rowe had his first sniff of goal shortly after the half-hour mark when he manoeuvred a yard of space on 18 yard line and was narrowly wide of the right post with a curling effort.

The hosts narrowed the deficit with the next attack when Richie Baker delivered a peach of a cross to the back post for the lurking Williams to nod the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner.

Half-time substitute Sam Finley was presented with the first chance of the second half when he was played clean through but the goalkeeper was out quickly to smother.

Another half-time replacement, James Hardy, tried his luck from the edge of the box and wasn’t far over.

Tranmere grabbed a fourth when a deep cross to the back post was met by Harris and flapped at by the keeper before ending up in the corner.

The Coasters now look forward to the first match of the new National League North season at Telford on Saturday.

DANIEL AGNEW