AFC Fylde players are challenged to bounce back following FA Cup defeat
Jim Bentley is demanding a rapid response from his AFC Fylde side after their FA Cup exit at Spennymoor Town.
Bentley’s National League North table-toppers return to league action at home to Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow, having lost for the first time this season in Tuesday’s second qualifying round replay in County Durham.
The Coasters manager was full of praise for matchwinner Glen Taylor and his side but highly critical of his own team’s performance.
Fylde face another of their league’s in-form sides tomorrow, when they welcome a fifth-placed Harriers side beaten only once to Mill Farm.
It’s an early opportunity to put their first-hurdle FA Cup exit behind them and Bentley said: “Spennymoor were playing with the slope in the first half and I think they got everything right with and without the ball. They were a lot better than we were.
“They had the dark arts nailed down and they played some good football. They won more first balls and second balls.
“One of my first games here was a defeat at Dover and I’d probably put Spennymoor’s first-half performance up there with that.
“Glen Taylor is one of the best centre-forwards in the division, if not the best on that showing.
“But we were miles off it. We made poor decisions and were caught in possession but credit to them – they made it like that.”
The Fylde dressing room was not a happy place at half-time and the visitors’ improvement could not change the outcome as Taylor’s first-half penalty continued to separate the sides.
Bentley admitted: “We came up short and it’s very disappointing. We’ve had a go at half-time and got a response second half, but the opposition had something to cling on to playing up the hill.
“So you’re going to have more of the ball and more opportunities, but even then I’m disappointed because we haven’t worked the keeper enough all game.”
But Bentley’s focus is now fully on the resumption of the league campaign and stretching Fylde’s unbeaten start to a seventh game.
Fylde currently head the pile on goal difference from Brackley Town and have a game in hand, and Bentley continued: “So we have to take it on the chin, and make sure we recover right and respond in the right manner on Saturday.
“It’s back to the league and good sides are the ones that respond to adversity.
“That was a poor performance, so we’ve asked the lads a question to respond in a positive way and get back to winning ways.
“It’s disappointing to go out in that manner but all we can do is look forward. It’s a tough game against Kidderminster.
“They’ll know that we’ve had a tough night. They will be looking to sink their teeth in and give us another kick where it hurts.
“So we have to roll our sleeves up, put the gumshield back in, come out fighting and make sure we get a response, and that’s 100 per cent what we’re looking to do.”
Many North West Counties League clubs are in FA Vase action tomorrow, giving the two Blackpool sides an opportunity to make up ground in their leagues with home fixtures.
Squires Gate welcome an Ashton Athletic side who are second-bottom of the premier division but just a point behind Gate, albeit from three matches more.
Luke Evans’ side are looking to end a run of four straight defeats in league and cup and to bounce back from Tuesday’s midweek loss to Avro.
AFC Blackpool can make up lost ground at home to Ilkley Town in first division north, having seen a three-goal lead slip against South Liverpool last weekend.
Martin Baird’s side have fallen to fifth but victory tomorrow would lift them at least a couple of places.
Fylde Women return to league action with a crunch clash on Sunday after a three-week break for cup fixtures.
The unbeaten league leaders visit a third-placed Nottingham Forest side who are three points behind them in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier.
Fylde have been drawn at home to Fleetwood Wrens in the second round of the Lancashire Cup on October 17.
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