Altrincham 3 AFC Fylde 1: Coasters’ pre-season ends with defeat

AFC Fylde's Danny Rowe
AFC Fylde's Danny Rowe
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The Coasters’ pre-season ended in a 3-1 defeat in a fiercely contested game at Altrincham.

The tone was established from the off, and after a late, two-footed challenge from Sean Williams on Danny Philliskirk, a confrontation ensued which ended with a booking for the former.

Moments later, Danny Rowe had the chance to bend a free-kick in 20 yards from goal but his effort went straight into the wall, and Altrincham cleared.

Jordan Hulme worked tirelessly up top for Alty, with plenty of long balls aimed in his direction; however the new partnership of Alex Whitmore and Neill Byrne seemed able to cope.

Altrincham did, however, get their first sight of goal 20 minutes in, when John Johnston’s low cross was steered behind by Luke Burke, as Nathan Arnold was waiting to slot home.

Johnston quickly became the home side’s main threat in the first half, with teasing set-pieces and darting runs opening up chances.

Their spell of dominance soon paid off, as a slick move was finished off expertly by Arnold, dispatching the ball low into the bottom corner and giving James Montgomery no chance.

The Coasters looked to get back into the game quickly, and came very close to levelling through striker Rowe.

Good work from Burke on the right saw him play in a teasing cross to the back post which was met by Rowe.

His header cannoned back off the bar, before his follow-up shot was cleared off the line and Nick Haughton saw his effort blocked too.

The hosts doubled their lead before the interval, as Sean Williams stepped up to sweetly strike a free-kick through the wall and beyond Montgomery.

After the break, the Coasters came back out the stronger of the two sides and it wasn’t long before they had the rewards for their efforts.

An inswinging corner wasn’t cleared properly, and Rowe was there to volley home beyond keeper Steve Drench.

Fylde went as close as they would come to levelling when Whitmore’s header was cleared off the line, and scrambled to safety.

The Coasters were unlucky not to restore parity, before a crucial free-kick late on for Altrincham saw Sean Williams fire his second of the day past Montgomery; this time after hitting the inside of the post.

Credit went to Fylde, who kept their intensity up to the end, looking to grab another goal, with Jordan Williams and Rowe looking the most likely to make things happen.

The final whistle went, with Altrincham no doubt the happier of the two teams with their efforts on a day where the elements played their part.

With pre-season concluded, the Coasters head to Aldershot Town on the opening day of the Vanarama National League season.

Altrincham: Drench, White, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Branson, Johnston, Richman, Hulme, S Williams, Arnold. Subs: Densmore, Hancock, Chadwick, Mullarkey, Peers, Walters, Thompson.

AFC Fylde: Montgomery, Duxbury. Byrne, Whitmore, Croasdale, Rowe, Philliskirk, Burke, Bradley, J Williams, Haughton. Subs: Lavercombe, Hollywood, Green, Shorrock, Byrne, Roberts.