AFC Fylde 2, Ossett Albion 0
Fylde secured their place in the Evo-Stik First Division North promotion play-offs with a comfortable victory which relegated visitors Ossett, though manager Kelham O’Hanlon was quick to point out that the job is only half done.
The game was wrapped up early as goals in the third and 13th minutes by Paul Jarvis and Matt Walwyn gave the Coasters a lead which was never threatened by lacklustre Albion.
Fylde looked dangerous from the start, and when Kevin Townson’s shot from a Walwyn cross was saved the ball rebounded to Jarvis, who slotted it into an unguarded net.
The outstanding Townson played a big part in the second goal too, winning possession on the edge of the box and crossing for Walwyn to end his seven-game wait for a goal. An offside flag denied the striker a second three minutes later.
The visitors briefly gained the upper hand but Fylde keeper Lewis Edge was never seriously threatened as Michael Senior’s shot was fired straight at him and Chris Cornelly steered a header wide.
In the opposite goal, Ashley Connor needed to be in fine form to deny Fylde a third before the break, though he was helpless as Townson shot agonisingly wide from a corner two minutes before the interval.
Glenn Steel headed against the bar on the hour and Michael Barnes shot straight at Connor three minutes later.
The final five minutes brought a series of gilt-edged chances for Fylde to add a third.
Walwyn had a shot saved when he should perhaps have passed to substitute Andy Bell, who was then denied by Connor twice in as many minutes. The keeper crowned his outstanding display by blocking Walwyn’s point-blank header.
This result, allied to Warrington Town’s defeat at second-placed Skelmersdale, guarantees Fylde’s top-five finish with two games to spare and boss O’Hanlon said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be in the play-offs.
“The players have done fantastically well but that’s only half the job done and the season starts now. We’ve got to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to win the play-offs.”
This victory lifted Fylde to third and their target will be to stay there and earn a home semi-final, though Chorley are just a point behind with two games in hand.
Fylde visit Ossett on Saturday before leaders Chester visit Kellamergh Park on Easter Monday.
AFC Fylde: Edge (Stevenson 46), Steel, Elderton, Doughty, Stringfellow, Mercer (C), Kay, Jarvis (Mahoney 76), Townson, Walwyn, Barnes (Bell 77); Subs not used: Lawler, Hills.