Away draws for AFC Fylde in FA Trophy after frustrating weekends for owner David Haythornthwaite

AFC Fylde will return to Curzon Ashton in the FA Trophy - the only National League North ground where they have lost this seasonAFC Fylde will return to Curzon Ashton in the FA Trophy - the only National League North ground where they have lost this season
AFC Fylde will return to Curzon Ashton in the FA Trophy - the only National League North ground where they have lost this season
Owner David Haythornthwaite has spoken out about AFC Fylde’s unsuccessful attempts to fill gaps in their fixture schedule, claiming that even National League North’s top sides don’t want to play them.
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The Coasters have found themselves without a game on three of the last four weekends but were not able to find opponents for any of those dates.

Haythornthwaite has written to the National League, saying it should step in to ensure matches go ahead on Saturdays whenever possible.

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Second-placed Fylde return to action at Hereford this Saturday, 11 days after they last played, then could face two away trips in the FA Trophy before Christmas (see below)

Chairman Haythornthwaite told the club website: “We’ve had two Saturdays recently when someone has had Covid at the team we should have played. We tried to arrange another game but were unsuccessful.

“We were trying all week to rearrange a game for last Saturday (when Fylde never had a scheduled fixture) and it’s a bit ridiculous. No-one wants to play us.

“The three teams available to play last weekend were Bradford (Park Avenue), Gloucester and Kidderminster. Bradford are part-time and had played us on the Tuesday, so would they want to play us again? Probably not.

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“But I was amazed by the other two sides. We weren’t asking them to come to us. We said we’d go to Kidderminster, which is a bit of a trek, or to Gloucester, which is the furthest game of the season, but neither of them wanted to play us.”

Gloucester and Kidderminster are presently first and third respectively in National North and both have the same gap between fixtures as Fylde.

Haythornthwaite added: “I was a bit annoyed by it and wrote to the league. I said there comes a time when the league have to make clubs play when they are available.

“We were lucky last year in that we had a mild winter and not many games were called off. At this level no-one has pitch covers, so if it freezes we are going to lose out.

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“We already have a tight season of Saturday-Tuesday games and I think it’s irresponsible of clubs not to play on a Saturday when they can.

“It’s ridiculous and I think people should be a little more considerate and maybe a little less selfish, though they obviously have their reasons.”

Fylde will not play another home game until Southport’s visit on December 28, having been drawn away in the second round of the FA Trophy and in the third round should they progress.

Fylde will enter the tournament with a visit to Curzon Ashton next Tuesday (7.45pm), four weeks after losing there in National League North. The Greater Manchester club are the only team to have defeated Fylde in the league so far this season.

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The reward for the winners will be a third-round trip to Evesham United or Boston United four days later (Saturday 19).

Boston visited Mill Farm in the league only 12 days ago, when the Coasters won 2-1.

Haythornthwaite said of the Lincolnshire club: “Boston were the best side we’ve played so far and I think they will be up in the top three.”

Worcestershire club Evesham play two levels below Boston and Fylde in Southern League division one south. They have won four ties to reach this stage of the competition.

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Fylde won the FA Trophy in 2018-19 and are still the holders as last season’s final between Harrogate Town, now of League Two, and Concord Rangers is yet to be played.

Fylde Under-18s' FA Youth Cup third round tie at Cambridge United this evening has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.