Alfreton Town 3 AFC Fylde 5: Full report and reaction

Danny Rowe struck four as Fylde made it 11 goals in two games to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

Sunday, 21st August 2016, 6:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:10 pm
Danny Rowe scores his fantastic fourth Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Danny Rowe struck four as Fylde made it 11 goals in two games to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

Despite trailing 3-2 at the break, an attacking masterclass in the second half from the Coasters sealed Fylde’s third win in four Vanarama National North outings.

Manager Dave Challinor stuck with the same side that dismantled Altrincham Town 6-0 last Tuesday.

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The wind was causing problems in the early stages and Alfreton tested the Coasters with some dangerous corners, though it was the visitors who took an early lead in emphatic fashion.

James Hardy was felled 20 yards out and up stepped free-kick specialist Rowe to smash the ball into the top left corner for his third goal of the season after eight minutes.

Hardy was presented with a chance of his own moments later, when Tom Kennedy whipped in a delightful cross from the left, but the former Manchester City youngster misjudged a header which sailed over.

The scores were level on 14 minutes as Ryan Wilson was played through on goal by Todd Jordan and the striker made no mistake, firing past Rhys Taylor.

Goalscorer Rowe had other ideas and restored the visitors’ lead just two minutes later. The frontman latched on to Bohan Dixon’s knock-down, raced into the area, cut back on to his right foot and rolled the ball past the helpless goalkeeper.

And it became 2-2 with the game barely 20 minutes old, when Craig Westcarr curled a sublime free-kick into the bottom left corner.

Tuesday’s two-goal hero Dixon was keen to get on the scoresheet once again and fired a rocket from fully 35 that flew narrowly wide.

Next it was Alfreton’s turn to pose a threat and it took a fine fingertip save from Taylor to prevent the hosts taking the lead. However, from the resulting corner the Reds were ahead for the first time.

Sam Smith was impeded by Josh Langley in the box and captain Dan Bradley made no mistake from the spot, sending Taylor the wrong way.

The hosts almost made it four in first-half added time when Bradley dispossessed Steve Williams and crossed for Westcarr to turn the ball home. Much to Fylde’s relief the linesman’s flag was raised.

Williams looked to make amends shortly after the break when he rose to meet Danny Holmes’ cross at the back post but his header across goal was well wide.

Just six minutes into the second period the Coasters back on level terms. Rowe lined up a free-kick 25 yards from goal and its sheer power took the ball past Fabian Speiss and into the far corner to complete his hat-trick.

Alfreton should have been ahead again when the ball arrived at the feet of Bradley at the back post but somehow the Reds’ captain could only find the side-netting from point-blank range.

Keeper Taylor was injured in the build-up to that chance and limped off, Tony Thompson coming off the bench for his debut.

Fylde were beginning to pile on the pressure in the pursuit of a winner and Andy Bond, scorer of a wonderful goal last time out, wasn’t far off with a curling effort.

Fantastic play from James Hardy on the edge of the area presented Dixon with a real chance but his close-range poke was deflected around the post.

The fourth goal deservedly arrived on 69 minutes and it was a remarkable fourth for Rowe, who pounced on a loose ball in a goalmouth scramble to tuck from six yards.

More fine football from visitors was almost finished off by Dixon but his well-stuck shot sailed agonisingly wide of the far post with just over 10 minutes to play.

The match was put to bed two minutes later with a fifth for the visitors.

Rowe did superbly to set Hardy free down the centre. He in turn played in Dixon and although the midfielder’s shot was saved, Hardy was on hand to fire home the loose ball.

Dixon had a chance to put the final nail in the coffin with seconds left, from Holmes’ right-wing cross, but he blazed over from 10 yards.

Manager Dave Challinor was delighted with Fylde’s fightback after a disappointing first-half showing.

“It’s a win, that’s the big thing,” he said. “To score five goals is great and to create the amount of chances we did as well was fantastic.

“I was obviously not happy at half-time and I had a right go because defensively we were all over the place.

“We said at half-time that if we kept the ball out of our net we’d have a good chance of winning. We needed to dig in in the second half.

“I give massive credit to the players for their reaction and they deserved to win.”

Challinor denied the strong wind was a major factor in the eight-goal tally. “I don’t think it had a big impact – it was poor defending from both teams.

“We scored first at a similar time as we did at Altrincham but there were signs that defensively we were far too open.

“We were making poor decisions and ultimately we’ve given really poor goals away, which put us on the back foot.

“At half-time, it wasn’t a case of me giving out tactical information – we just needed to be better, more aggressive in terms of attacking the ball and to stop giving away cheap free-kicks. If we do that, we’ve always got a chance because of the attacking players we have.

“Once we got the goal early in the second half, we were really in the ascendency.

“Apart from one or two occasions, we dealt much better with them.”

Fylde: Taylor (Thompson 60), Holmes, Langley, Williams, Kennedy, C. Hughes, Bond, Dixon, Hardy, Daniels (M. Hughes 34), Rowe; Subs not used: Collins, Baker, Blinkhorn.

Alfreton: Speiss, Allan, Heaton, Kennedy, McGowan, Nyoni, Jordan, Smith (Heard 74), Wilson (Garnett 74), Bradley, Westcarr (Priestley 90); Subs not used: Doyle-Charles.