Fylde matchwinner Hardy defeats the demons

James Hardy
James Hardy

AFC Fylde’s James Hardy admits he was relieved to exorcise a few demons with the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over promotion rivals Harrogate Town at the weekend.

The win saw the Coasters jump into second place as teams jostle for positions in the play-offs, and with one game to play they can finish no lower than third.

Manchester City graduate Hardy fired home the second goal in the final league game at Fylde’s Kellamergh Park and was delighted to be back on the scoresheet.

Hardy said: “I was particularly glad to get a goal because a few weeks ago I missed a big chance against North Ferriby. I wanted to put that right. I wanted to put that behind me and move on from it.

“My goal ended up being the winner so it was quite important and I’m delighted.

“Some people were saying that it took a deflection but I just gave the keeper the eyes and slotted it in – definitely no deflection!”

Fylde returned to winning ways following defeat at Tamworth the previous weekend and the 19-year-old midfielder insisted that the Coasters were good value for the points.

“I thought we played very well,” he said. “The first half was a bit scrappy and nobody had much time. They were tight to us and we were tight to them, but it opened up a little bit more in the second half and we had more space to play.

“They had one of their better players missing but we had a few out too. Overall I thought we were the better team and we certainly deserved to win.”

Fylde could face Harrogate again in the play-offs and Hardy would welcome another match against the Yorkshire outfit. It could give us a psychological edge and some added confidence that we can beat them. They haven’t beaten us this season, so that might play on their minds.

“On our day we would back ourselves against anyone, so we’ll just wait and see who we get.

“I’d fancy our chances against any side we end up playing. I think we are the best team in this league, so I’m not really fussed.”

Hardy has been in tremendous form over the run-in and is now keen to retain his place in manager Dave Challinor’s plans. I’m glad that I’m playing a lot more football now and my fitness is improving all the time,” Hardy said.

“ When I first joined I was in and out of the team and I had a few little injuries, but the last couple of months have been great. I want to stay in the team and help us go up.”

North Ferriby will reclaim second place from Fylde if they avoid defeat in their game in hand tonight at Lowestoft.

DANIEL AGNEW