AFC Fylde 2, Woodley Sports 0
CARETAKER boss Mick Fuller got the winning start he wanted following the sudden exit of Kelham O’Hanlon a week ago
Two clinical first-half strikes sealed the points against a side who started the day third in Evo-Stik First Division North.
The day didn’t start well for Fylde stalwart Fuller, with striker Lee Thorpe pulling out through illness.
That meant a recall for Micky Stringfellow at left-back, with Paul Jarvis pushing up into midfield.
The visitors came to play and not sit behind the ball, and they started brightly.
Both sides had long spells of possession and played good football despite swirling winds and rain, though chances were few and far between.
Woodley got the first real opportunity when forward John Marsden tested Rick Whiteside’s reflexes and the keeper did well to palm away his drive from just inside the box.
The home side kicked into gear and got the all-important opener on 22 minutes, when Richie Allen struck after excellent wing play from the returning Michael Barnes.
He ran clear down the left and cut back a great ball for the onrushing striker and top scorer to blast past keeper Liam Higginbotham.
Sadly for Fylde, Allen limped out of the game on 35 minutes with a groin problem and was replaced by Joe Booth.
Booth made an instant impact, linking up with Keigan Parker in a sweeping move which ended with Barnes releasing full-back James Heywood, whose shot curled away from Higginbotham and into the top corner.
Barnes went close to adding a third before the break but his well-struck shot whistled inches wide.
A third Fylde goal was always more likely than a Woodley comeback after the break as Parker had a shot blocked on the line after 70 minutes.
The visitors defended frantically as the Coasters piled on more pressure, Barnes again denied when his close-range shot was saved.
Substitute Joe Booth released fellow midfielder Warren Beattie late on, but he unselfishly teed-up Parker who was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle.
Stringfellow took the man of the match award in a sterling display by the Coasters’ back four.
Numerous applicants for the managerial vacancy watched from the stands as Fuller got the solid display he called for to secure a vital win which leaves Fylde three points outside the play-off zone.
Stand-in boss Fuller said: “It was a competitive game. I was very pleased with the way they played and particularly happy with the way we defended.
“We scored two well-worked goals, with both teams playing some good stuff.
“In the second half, we could have scored another two goals at least and we limited them to one important save from Rick Whiteside.
“The whole team gave 100 per cent and it was a great team performance. Three points was all I asked for and that’s what I got!”
Instead of the scheduled trip to Ossett Town, who have FA Trophy commitments, Fylde’s next match will be at home to Cammell Laird on Saturday.