Bamber Bridge 0 AFC Fylde 3: Sharp-shooters impress for Coasters
Fylde continued their preparations for the 2021/22 campaign with an impressive win over nearby Northern Premier League side Bamber Bridge on Tuesday.
The Coasters won an entertaining match at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, where Nick Haughton opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Sam Osborne and Jordan Hulme added further goals after the break.
Jim Bentley made four changes to the starting XI from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Warrington Rylands, with Chris Neal, Luke Conlan, Harvey Gregson and Haughton all handed starts.
Two former Fylde players were named on the Brig teamsheet: defender Macauley Wilson captained the side and winger Mark Yeates was on the bench.
Fylde were first to threaten, when the hosts failed to stop Hulme gliding through the centre of the defence but the striker sent his low drive wide.
Bentley’s men were almost rewarded for their bright start when captain Alex Whitmore met Haughton’s corner only to see his downward header turned around the post by goalkeeper Alex Cameron.
The visitors continued attacking as Nathan Shaw had a low effort well saved by Cameron and a powerful Haughton shot flew over the bar.
Fylde keeper Chris Neal was called into action on 20 minutes, when he got down well to prevent Isaac Sinclair from breaking the deadlock.
Winger Sinclair went closer moments later, creating space for himself to pull the trigger, but his drive clipped the top of the crossbar.
The opening goal arrived a minute before half-time and the hosts were visibly frustrated at how it was conceded.
A sloppy back-pass to Cameron wasn’t dealt with properly and Hulme nipped in before being brought down by the keeper for a penalty. Haughton converted confidently, despite the best efforts of the outstretched Cameron.
Young midfielder Gregson was presented with a glorious chance to double the lead early in the second half but his glanced header didn’t trouble the keeper.
Osborne had a weak effort comfortably collected by Cameron but the winger would soon find himself on the scoresheet.
Some pinball in the Brig box ended with an unmarked Osborne seeing his initial effort blocked before beating Cameron with a low finish on 51 minutes.
Osborne went close to grabbing his second after some neat footwork, then Stephen Dobbie almost made it three but Cameron got a hand to the ball before the forward could round him.
Fylde’s substitute keeper Bobby Jones had to be on his toes to deny Yeates with 15 minutes left, getting down to his low drive from just inside the penalty area.
Despite Brig’s best efforts to get back into the game, a third goal came the Coasters’ way in the 78th minute from a pinpoint cross by a trialist left-back.
His driving run and cross found the head of a moving Hulme and he made no mistake with a near-post header inside the six-yard box.
Dobbie went close late on, after good work by Owen Robinson, and Hulme should have grabbed a second.
The tenacious Luke Burke beat a man and squared the ball to an unmarked Hulme but Cameron managed to get across and block his effort from three yards out.
It was a professional display by Bentley’s side, who now look forward to completing their pre-season schedule at home to National League club FC Halifax Town on Saturday (3pm).
FYLDE: Neal (45), Burke, Nolan, Whitmore (60), Osborne, Joyce (70), Gregson (90), Shaw (60), Haughton (60), Hulme. Subs: Jones (45), Tollitt (90), Philliskirk (70), Byrne (60), Dobbie (60), Robinson (60), Trialist (45).
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