Grantham Town 1 AFC Fylde 2

Dave Challinor

Dave Challinor

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Manager Dave Challinor blamed bad decision-making for a second-half rearguard action but he was delighted to see his Fylde side maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

It means the Coasters go into this afternoon’s home derby with Chorley as one of three teams riding high with seven points from three games, though they needed plenty of resilience to repeat last season’s 2-1 result at Grantham.

“It was a similar match to last season’s,” Challinor told The Gazette. “Ben Hinchliffe (in goal) came out and punched brilliantly ut I thought there were poor decisions made in possession by pretty much every player in the last half-hour and we allowed them to gain momentum.”

Fylde looked dangerous in the early stages, keeping home keeper Dan Haystead on his toes. At the other end, Greg Smith went close with a header for Grantham before putting his side ahead on 29 minutes.

Gary King controlled the ball in the area and played in Smith, who beat the oncoming Hinchliffe.

Fylde were level four minutes later, when the dangerous Michael Barnes’ inswinging cross eluded everyone to find its way into the net. Grantham keeper Dan Haystead was distracted by Harry Winter as he moved in for a header and both players missed the ball.

It remained 1-1 at half-time but Fylde looked set to take the lead just a minute into the second half, when Matty Blinkhorn was brought down just inside the box and a penalty was awarded.

Haystead saved Barnes’ spot-kick with his legs but Fylde scored from the resulting throw-in, Blinkhorn bundling the ball in at the near post.

Challinor hoped his side would kick on from there but instead it was the hosts who took the initiative, Hinchcliffe making an excellent save from an Adie Hawes header.

With Grantham pushing forward, Fylde had a chance to wrap up the points but Winter blazed over when well placed.

Fylde survived one final scare when King found space in the box only to see his shot cannon back off the bar.

Challinor said: “We played a little safe in the early stages and I felt that if we found a bit of quality in the final third the game was there for us.

“We gave them a sloppy goal but reacted well, and after going in front I thought we’d go on and move the ball about.

“Instead we made poor decisions and allowed a big side to get the ball forward and gain encouragement. We didn’t stamp our style on the game.

“These games against teams who are just looking to get the ball forward are the ones which will decide how we do this season, so I’m delighted to have won. The challenge now is to turn a decent start into a very good one.”

Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin (Sumner 85), Denton, Russell, M Hughes, B Barnes, C Hughes, Winter, Blinkhorn (Dean 60), M Barnes, Lloyd (Rainford 65); not used: Hare, Booth