AFC Fylde 1 Stockport County 2: Second-half goals see the Coasters suffer home defeat
AFC Fylde fell to defeat against Stockport County at Mill Farm, as the Hatters struck twice in quick succession to mount a second-half comeback.
Both teams made changes following their respective Boxing Day clashes with Andy Taylor, James Craigen, Mark Yeates and Jordan Williams all handed starts for Jim Bentley’s side.
Fresh from a point at league leaders Barrow, the Coasters began full of confidence and got themselves off to the perfect start.
Taylor played Danny Rowe in down the left-hand side, with plenty of space opening up for the Fylde number nine.
He timed his pass to perfection, threading it through to the advancing Ryan Croasdale who only had to prod home on the line to put his team ahead.
Stockport grew into the half and had a gilt-edged chance as Devante Rodney found Nyal Bell in the six-yard box – but the Hatters’ striker fired over when he looked destined to hit the net.
The Coasters very nearly made it 2-0 when Rowe’s chipped cross was met by a towering Neill Byrne but his effort bounced off the post and was then cleared by a visiting defender.
Craigen had a fantastic chance to double Fylde’s lead before the break as the Coasters broke in numbers, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
Fylde were good value for their lead at half-time, but crucially, could not score a second before the interval.
The Hatters didn’t have to wait long after the restart to equalise when Alex Whitmore’s late challenge gave Tom Walker a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Walker struck it sweetly, dipping it over the wall and goalwards with Sam Hornby only able to get a hand on it as it struck the back of the net.
County’s tails were up, and just eight minutes later, they took the lead through the unlikely source of Dan Cowan.
Pouncing on a loose ball in the box, Cowan delivered a sublime right-footed finish in front of the travelling Stockport fans, giving Hornby no chance.
The Coasters nearly responded instantly, and when Mark Yeates’ cutback found Craigen only a matter of yards from goal, it seemed that the score would be level once again.
Craigen’s goalbound effort struck the hand of Ash Palmer from close range.
Despite being close to the incident, the referee waved away the Coasters’ protests, perhaps deeming it unavoidable.
Fylde kept pressing and very nearly found the back of the net through Whitmore’s flicked header from a corner.
However, he angled his attempt inches wide of Ben Hinchliffe’s upright.
Try as they might, the Coasters were unable to break down a stubborn County side, and with it, fell to defeat against the Hatters at Mill Farm for the first time.
AFC Fylde: Hornby, Taylor, Whitmore, Byrne, Burke, Croasdale, Philliskirk (Kosylo 85), Craigen (Haughton 69), Yeates (Bradley 75), Williams, Rowe. Subs not used: Lavercombe, Jameson,
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Leesley, Arthur, Palmer, Cowan, Keane, S Walker, T Walker (Thomas 72), Osborne (Minihan 83), Rodney (Turnbull 87), Bell. Subs not used: Mulhern, Ormson.
Referee: Andrew Miller.