Clitheroe 2 AFC Fylde 6
Fylde climbed to fourth in Evo-Stik First Division North and closed the gap on the top three with this emphatic victory at Shawbridge.
It was a third successive league win for Dave Challinor’s side to kick-off their series of Lancashire derbies for the festive season.
Two goals by striker Ritchie Allen took his tally to 20 for the campaign and helped the Coasters towards a convincing victory, although the score was deadlocked at 1-1 in the dying moments of the first half. Clitheroe started the stronger and could have taken the lead ten minutes in through Josh Hine, but goalkeeper Zac Jones saved well to deny him.
Six minutes later, Jones denied Clitheroe twice more. First, he stopped Kevin Brown’s free-kick and within a minute Matty Carr’s attempt was well caught.
It was Fylde who struck first with 21 minutes gone, from their first real opportunity.
A brilliant crossfield ball from Joe Booth found Allen, who ran into the box and fired past the oncoming keeper.
However, the lead lasted only four minutes as Jones could only parry Matthew Pearon’s shot into the path of Ashley Parillon, who tucked the ball into the next from six yards out.
Fylde grabbed a foothold on the game after half an hour and Booth almost gave the Coasters the lead again but his free kick sailed narrowly wide.
Fowler was unlucky moments later, when his shot was deflected the wrong side of the post by a defender.
With 41 minutes on the clock, Glenn Steel restored Fylde’s lead as he knocked in a loose ball which had been headed on to his own bar by Chris Smalley.
Allen forged out another opening for himself to no avail but half-time arrived with the score at 2-1.
The turning point came two minutes after the restart. when Fylde broke up a Clitheroe attack and then struck on the break .Michael Barnes broke down the left wing to cross into the path for Andy Fowler to finish clincially for his first Coasters goal.
Fylde were creating more opportunities and scored a fourth on the hour.
Fowler made a good run to the edge of the box and squared the ball for Allen to round his defender and claim his second superbly.
Booth added the fifth five minutes later, when he expertly curled the ball into the back of the net after being fed by Bradley Barnes,
With 20 minutes to go, Lee Pugh grabbed a second for the home side with an absolute piledriver, which flew in off the left post from all of 40 yards.
Any chance of an unlikely comeback was dashed on 83 minutes, when Bradley Barnes got on the end of a cross from substitute Keigan Parker to head Fylde’s sixth.
Challinor will now be hoping his side’s winning run continues at Bamber Bridge on Boxing Day.
AFC Fylde: Jones, Heywood, Sumner, Doughty, Steel, B Barnes, Booth, Kay (Mercer 82), Fowler (Parker 77), M Barnes (Jarvis 70), Allen; not used: McDonald, Nightingale.
*NON-LEAGUE rivals Squires Gate and AFC Blackpool had a quiet weekend ahead of their Boxing Day derby.
Their matches against Flixton and leaders Bootle respectively were victims of the waterlogging which wiped out all but two of Saturday’s matches in the premier division of the North West Counties League.