AFC Fylde 5, Ossett Town. A hat-trick from Paul Jarvis and a brace from Bradley Barnes eased the Coasters back the top of the Evo-Stik Division One North.
Although it took Jarvis 41 minutes to break the deadlock, this turned into a highly satisfactory afternoon for Dave Challinor’s side, who went a point clear at the top because of Curzon Ashton’s 3-1 defeat at Witton Albion.
However, it looked like it was going to be one of those days in the first half, as the visitors proved hard to break down.
Striker Jimmy McCarthy struggled to find a way through on his home debut. An opportunity came his way in the eighth minute, then after half and hour the former Hyde frontman had a goal ruled offside after Joe Booth’s shot rebounded into his path off keeper Ashley Connor.
Town’s first opportunity came on 15 minutes but Shane Kelsey fired hig. Three minutes later, Fylde full-back Adam Sumner fired a shot into the keeper’s arms from distance.
The first goal came from a fine cross from the right by Michael Barnes, which was volleyed in by his namesake Bradley from the edge of the area.
They doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time, when Jarvis sent a searching cross into the Ossett box. It was aimed towards Glen Steel but ended up in the back of the net.
After the break, Fylde set about putting the game beyond Ossett’s reach. With 59 minutes on the clock, McCarthy lobbed the ball over the Town defence to find Barnes free to shoot home on the half-volley.
The Coasters continued to dominate possession and apply pressure. This took its toll on 72 minutes, when Matty Kay controlled the ball well just outside the area and released Jarvis, who took his time to fire the ball past the onrushing keeper.
With nine minutes left, Jarvis completed his hat-trick with probably Fylde’s goal of the season.
As Fylde cleared their lines, Jarvis ran all of 60 yards to chase a long ball, beat a defender on the bye-line and cut inside to shoot into the top corner.
A delighted Challinor said: “Between now and the end of the season we’ve got to take care of our business, and we knew we needed this win.
“We can only take care of what we have to do. If that brings us success, then fantastic.”
Ossett Town still have a part to play in the title race. They visit Curzon, who still have a game in hand on Fylde, tomorrow and face the Coasters in a Yorkshire rematch on Saturday week.
That completes a series of three tricky away games for Fylde, starting at Woodley Sports tomorrow.
Fylde: Jones, Heywood, Sumner, Doughty, Steel, B. Barnes, McCarthy, Kay (Galliers 85), Booth (Winter 59), M. Barnes (72); not used: Mercer, McDonald.
Meanwhile, FYLDE boss Dave Challinor’s search for a striker has come to fruition with the signing of the experienced Lee McEvilly from his former club Colwyn Bay.