A Downey double puts Fylde back on the up

Colne 1 AFC Fylde 3 AFC Fylde put their recent dip in form behind them with a vital Vodkat NWCL win at the Holt House Stadium last night.

They took full advantage of leaders Newcastle's shock defeat at Atherton to close the gap at the top of the premier division to a single point – and AFC still have five games in hand.

With AFC assistant manager Paul Eastwood again taking charge in Mick Fuller's absence, Colne started brightly and had an early chance on 16 minutes when a header fell to striker Liam Garbutt but young Fylde keeper Nathan Worrall saved well.

AFC soon started to create chances and Mick Horsfall headed wide before Mark Wane's shot was saved. Joe Booth, back in the starting line-up, weaved his way through the Colne defence but was denied in a one-one-one with the keeper after a slick exchange of passes with Chris Downey.

But Fylde fell behind from a quick break, Garbutt seizing on a crossfield ball to score at the second attempt on 23 minutes after Worrall parried the first shot.

Fylde were on level terms within three minutes, when Horsfall was fouled on the edge of the area and Booth's free-kick dipped into the bottom left corner. Confident Fylde looked to press home their advantage but 16-goal striker Wane headed Horsfall's teasing cross wide from close range.

But his strike partner Downey put Fylde in front on 33 minutes, taking the ball on the edge of the box after Paul Paynter's surging run.

With his back to goal, Downey held off his marker and turned to fire into the bottom corner. Fylde had further chances but it remained 2-1 at the break.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Colne were denied on the hour by a point-blank save by Worrall.

It was all over on 61 minutes, when Downey grabbed his second following a defensive mix-up. The ball rolled free to the striker, who walked it into the empty net to seal the three points.

Fylde travel to Abbey Hey on Saturday seeking a win which could see them return to the summit.