Coasters’ boss thrilled at promotion prize

AFC Fyldes players celebrate their promotion to the top tier of non-league football after Saturdays win at Boston United     PICTURE: STEVE MCLELLAN

AFC Fyldes players celebrate their promotion to the top tier of non-league football after Saturdays win at Boston United PICTURE: STEVE MCLELLAN

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Delighted manager Dave Challinor couldn’t hide his emotions as AFC Fylde secured promotion to the National League in convincing style after suffering play-off agony in the last two seasons.

Challinor’s Coasters secured automatic promotion as champions with a game to spare courtesy of Saturday’s 3-0 win at Boston United, which left them six points clear at the top of Vanarama National North.

The Fylde boss said: “It’s difficult to sum up my thoughts at the moment. It’s all very, very emotional.

“To get over the line and to win in the manner that we did and to be crowned league champions with a game to spare is fantastic.

“It will take some time for what we have achieved here to sink in.

“I’m really looking forward to next weekend and being able to celebrate at home and get that trophy in front of our fans.

“It’s been a culmination of three years’ hard work, really hard work.

“We came into this division as the unknown quantity three seasons ago and finished second.

“That raised expectations. We lost in the play-offs and that happened again last year.

“With other clubs knowing us, it became a bit more difficult.

“This year we’ve taken the plunge and gone full-time and we’ve got our just deserts.

“We deserve to get promoted and I’m a big believer that the league table doesn’t lie.

“To get out of this league and put ourselves in that next division, and to give ourselves new challenges and new targets against new teams we’ve never played against before, is something I’m really, really excited about. It’s something that everyone can look forward to.”

Kidderminster Harriers and FC Halifax Town will contest the play-offs, along with two of Darlington 1883, Salford City, Chorley and Stockport County.

The National South title race between Maidenhead and Ebbsfleet will go to the wire.

Fylde replace fellow Southport in the National League, with their former National North rivals, North Ferriby United, also relegated.