AFC Fylde 1, Ashton United 2. Fylde were taught a harsh footballing lesson last night by a hard-working and resilient Ashton United outfit who grabbed a winner with just three minutes remaining.
After James Dean gave the Coasters an early lead, scoring his first goal for the club, the visitors came from behind to snatch victory, despite Fylde dominating for long periods but struggling to find the finishing touch.
After Saturday’s draw at Ilkeston, Fylde were looking to kickstart their first season in the Evo-Stik Premier, and after Joe Booth had a goal ruled out for offside after just five minutes Dean capitalised on some nervy goalkeeping to charge down a back-pass and slot into an empty net a minute later.
Fylde were almost caught napping straight away. However, Ashton’s Craig Robinson headed the wrong side of the bar from a corner eight minutes in.
Dean missed a chance to double his tally on quarter of an hour, and four minutes on Michael Barnes should have made it two but the keeper got low enough to divert his shot for a corner.
Matty Barlow thought he had equalised for Ashton when his lob came back of the bar, the ball going perilously close to crossing the line.
But when the referee Mr Gooch felt Dean had purposely stopped a through-ball with his arm, he awarded the visitors a penalty which Peers comfortably fired to the bottom right corner after 34 minutes.
Barnes came close to restoring Fylde’s lead five minutes before half-time, when he controlled well in the box only to see his thunderous shot bounce back off the bar.
With 56 minutes on the clock, Booth was unlucky not to score when his shot rebounded off the post and away to safety.
Ashton were sensing blood and Peers fired a free-kick inches wide from 25 yards on 61 minutes either side of two excellent chances for Dean to restore the lead for Fylde.
But the killer blow came three minutes from time.
Against the run of play, substitute Aaron Burnes found time and space to send a neat cross over the defence for striker Ben Deegan to wrong-foot Hinchliffe and head the goal which secured all three points.
Fylde manager Dave Challinor said: “Although we played well, the lads have been told in no uncertain terms that was unacceptable. “It’s tough because we dominated tonight but the lads need to learn they need to be clinical and put the chances away when you get the opportunity, otherwise it comes back to bite you as it did tonight.”
The Coasters are at home to North Ferriby United on Saturday, when nothing less than a win will be enough for Challinor.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Carden, Sumner, Hughes, Steel (C), B. Barnes, Booth, Winter (McCarthy 83), Dean, M. Barnes, Jarvis; Subs not used: McDonald, Dorney, Doughty, Kay.