AFC Fylde 5 Grantham Town 3

Fylde's Harry Winter

Fylde's Harry Winter

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Fylde got back to winning ways but were made to work hard to prevent Grantham completing an unlikely comeback at Kellamergh Park.

After storming into a 5-0 lead just after the hour, including two goals by Henry Winter, Fylde had keeper Ben Hinchlife sent off for bringing down Rhys Lewis in the box and the fightback began.

Paul Grimes converted the resulting penalty past stand-in goalkeeper Joe Booth, who could do nothing to prevent the Gingerbreads adding two more to set up a nailbiting finish.

Having gone 10 days without a match, the Coasters were desperate to get back on the pitch and their energy shone through from the kick-off as they took the lead inside three minutes.

Michael Barnes found his way into the box through the middle and slid the ball under advancing keeper James Lindley to open the scoring. Grantham showed their own intentions as Fylde defender Glenn Steel had to clear off his line, but the home side soon doubled their lead.

Winter scored his first on 12 minutes, after Michael Barnes beat his marker on the right and squared the ball for the midfielder to tap in from six yards.

The only Fylde attacker who can’t seem to find the net at the moment is striker Richie Allen, on loan from Fleetwood Town, and he had a brilliant opportunity to make it 3-0 and virtually put the game to bed with only 19 minutes gone.

James Dean’s ball from deep over the defence released Allen one-on-one with Lindley but he could only fire into the side-netting.

After a further five minutes of pressure from the visitors, Fylde broke on the half-hour for Paul Jarvis to notch a rare goal.

Lindley blocked Winter’s shot from the edge of the box with his legs but the ball rebounded up into Jarvis’ path and he headed into an empty net. With a minute remaining of the half, Dean added the Coasters’ fourth.

The second half would prove to be even more eventful, Winter netting his second on 64 minutes when he smashed in a corner at the far post.

But straight from the restart, Grantham went on the attack and Lewis was brought down by last man Hinchliffe, and without a keeper on the bench to replace him, midfielder Booth stepped up to face the penalty.

Grimes sent him the wrong way and the unlikely fightback was on – the travelling supporters behind the goal singing, “We’re gonna win 6-5!” Booth was booked for time-wasting as two Grantham players tried to wrestle the ball off him after the goal.

The Fylde supporters began to worry as Jamie McGhee made it 5-2 with a screamer from the corner of the box on 77 minutes, then Ashley Robinson tucked in the third three minutes later.

The 10 men of Fylde stood firm for a vita win which moved them up into the top top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “It just goes to show how one incident can completely change the momentum and flow. A game you are looking at winning seven or eight nothing ends up 5-3 and quite close.

“I thought the first half was the best we’ve played all season, but we’ve come out of the game winning by just two goals.

“Whether or not the sending off was the right decision, ultimately we shouldn’t have found ourselves in that position and it will cost us as we lose Ben for a game.

“The positives are that we were excellent in the first half and they couldn’t deal with us. It was 4-0 but it could have been anything really. And after losing Mike Taylor before kick-off and with Matty Hughes suspended, the two lads at centre-back stepped in and did well.”

Fylde’s next match at Whitby Town on Saturday has the hallmarks of another high-scoring contest. The Coasters beat them 4-3 in Warton this season.

CHRIS PARK

Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Jarvis, Steel, B. Barnes (C), Booth, Winter (Dorney 90), Dean, M. Barnes, Allen (Farrell 82); Not used: Fleming, McCarthy, Bannister