AFC Fylde manager JIm Bentley wants set-piece success at both ends when they head to Solihull Moors

Friday, 15th November 2019, 6:00 am
Jordan Williams came close to scoring for AFC Fylde at Nantwich Town Picture: Steve McLellan

Bentley sees dead ball situations as vitally important and wants to be able to utilise them both when attacking and defending.

The only goal of Fylde’s FA Cup tie against Nantwich Town came from a counter attack off an opposition corner.

Bentley is already seeing progression from his side on that front in his third week as the Coasters’ boss.

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He said: “It’s a big part of the game, set plays for and set plays against.

“We had a corner routine which didn’t really come off as well as we could have with the delivery and one of the runs for the first corner.

“The second corner we got Alex Whitmore free as a bird round the back post and he’s actually hit it too true back across the goal – Jordan Williams has nearly backheeled it in.

“Defensively, we’ve done one DVD session so far and it is a little bit of a change of how they’ve set up.

“There’s been some real good evidence in set plays against.

“You’ve got to work on set plays for all over the park, whether it be kick-off, a throw-in, long throw or short throw, a corner or a free-kick.

“You’ve got to make sure you don’t get counter attacked, and vice versa, when you’re defending.

“First phase, second phase, third phase, put your bodies on the line and use it as an opportunity to counter attack as we did on Saturday and get the all-important goal as we did on Saturday.

“There’s plenty to identify and plenty to work on.

“It is a big part of the game. Some games can be very even and tight and some games are settled on one set play.

Although Bentley’s initial focus since taking over at Mill Farm has been tightening up defensively, that is not the only area of the pitch he has been working on intently.

The Coasters have kept back-to-back clean sheets under Bentley, following on from the one recorded under the stewardship of John Hills and Brett Ormerod.

But despite the progress they have made at the back, Fylde will certainly be tested in the forward department at the weekend as Solihull Moors boast the best defence in the league.

The Coasters travel to Damson Park in a repeat of last season’s play-off semi final and their hosts will have Danny Philliskirk’s second minute goal fresh in their mind as they set out for revenge.

The Midlands side are still chasing the top spot; currently sat in sixth, the Moors are just three points off the summit.

Bentley believes it’s important to make sure there is a balance in the approach, despite the limited time his staff had to work with the players.

He wants to see his men match Solihull physically and impose their own quality on the home team.

“You’ve got to work on all aspects of the game,” he explained.

“It’s no good just concentrating your time and energy on your offensive play but then you can’t keep your back door shut.

“Likewise, if you’re really good defensively but you can’t create chances at the other end.

“Somewhere along the line you’re not going to be able to pick up points.

“We’ve only been here two-and a-bit weeks and in that time we’ve had three games so it’s been a little bit difficult to get as much into them as we wanted.

“We’re pleased with what we’re doing so far, there’s loads more in the tank and what we need to do.

“We’re coming up against a strong outfit and it’s important that we match them in that department and throw out our strengths on the pitch. Hopefully we’ll create chances and score goals, that’s what we’re looking to do.”

Fylde’s FA Cup second round tie away to Greater London non-league club Kingstonian has been confirmed as a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, November 30.