AFC Fylde boss: Let’s make Southport point even better against Chester

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AFC Fylde boss James Rowe has challenged his AFC Fylde side to make a “magnificent” point at Southport even better with a home win over Chester this afternoon.

The Coasters played most of the Good Friday game at Haig avenue with 10 men after midfielder Will Hatford was sent off, apparently for kicking out at Tyler Walton in an off-the-ball incident.

But Rowe was delighted at the way his side dug in from that point, restricting their hosts to very few chances and maintaining their four-point cushion in third place in National League North.

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The Fylde boss said: “From the moment we've gone down to 10 men we've switched to a back four, and I've told the players that to a man it's a magnificent point because we've restricted them to no chances and no shots on target. We've really dug in.

James Rowe saw his AFC Fylde team earn a point on Good Friday Picture: Steve McLellanJames Rowe saw his AFC Fylde team earn a point on Good Friday Picture: Steve McLellan
James Rowe saw his AFC Fylde team earn a point on Good Friday Picture: Steve McLellan

“You are always trying to get a goal on the counter when you are down to 10 men but I thought the way we stopped the switch and tried to stop crosses worked really well, so it's a really, really good point.

“In the National League pyramid you have to play in different ways and today it was about the physical outcomes. As soon as we went down to 10 men we had to tick those and we did that and more.

“I thought Sam Osborne was a symbol of that the way he ran and tackled. That's not his game but the way he did that epitomised the squad.

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“They are scrambling for a play-off place and so they want to win their home games.

“We knew they were going to start fast and we knew that was coming. But we restricted their penalty-area entries in the first 20 minutes, and before the sending-off I thought it was just swinging round and we were getting more ascendancy.”

The red card was part of an emotional day for the Fylde boss, who was himself sent to the stands for kicking the ball away.

Rowe added: “I haven't seen the incident that got Will sent off, so I can't comment on that because it was on the opposite side.

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“But I was disappointed with the opposition bench coming down nearly to the corner flag to get him sent off, in the linesman's ear.

“Southport should have been down to 10 men for a terrible tackle on (Luke) Burke. It was high and the mark is nearly by his knee.”

The full-back himself was just delighted to be back after long-term injury.

Burke said: “I was a bit nervous, to be honest, but it was good to be back involved.

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“I've been back in training for a few weeks. It's good that the gaffer trusts me to go straight in today and good to get a point on the board.

“They were no pushovers. They were wanting to win themselves, so when we went down to 10 men we stuck at it and saw the half out, then in the second half we did the same. We did what we had to do and got a good point.

“If you look at our recent form, we don't concede many so hopefully we can take that into Chester on Monday.

“Hopefully on our pitch we'll see a bit more expansive football from us and more passing, so hopefully we can create some more chances and get some goals.”

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Rowe agrees, adding: “For us it becomes an even better point if you can win your home game on Monday and get four points from two games.

“We'll focus on that now and fresh legs will be needed. We'll look to play more expansively and be better with the ball – there were too many turnovers again.

“Come down on Monday because we've scored a lot of goals at home and conceded not many at all. It will an entertaining day.”