Boss Jim Bentley wants his rock-solid defence back at AFC Fylde

Jim Bentley has challenged his AFC Fylde players to rediscover their defensive solidity.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 6:00 am
Jim Bentley's Fylde side haven't kept a clean sheet in seven matches
Jim Bentley's Fylde side haven't kept a clean sheet in seven matches

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Bentley calls for 'life or death' mindset at Fylde

But Fylde have now failed to keep a shutout in their last five league outings and seven games in all competitions, conceding three in the home defeat to Torquay United on Saturday.

It leaves them third from bottom in the National League table with a third of the season remaining.

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They are three points adrift of a Dagenham and Redbridge side outside of the relegation places on goal difference.

“It happens, football is like that,” Bentley said, when asked about his Fylde side leaking three goals on Saturday.

“We were proud of keeping seven clean sheets in our first 10 games but if you look at us now, it’s the little tiny bits we have to get right.

“It might be a clearance, it’s following in second balls and a couple of other bits and pieces where we need to get better.

“There’s trust in the players but conceding three at home shouldn’t happen, so we’ve got to be more robust.

“We did a session on Thursday where we put a back eight under the cosh for 28 minutes and there wasn’t a goal conceded. We didn’t even look like conceding.

“Then we come into the game and concede three, which is disappointing. But it’s those fine margins where we’re coming up short.

“Torquay just got it a little bit more right than us, so we’ve got to accept that and we’ve got to learn from it.

“We’ve got to make sure we come out fighting because we’re in a sticky position. But only we can get out of it.

“I’ve been there before. We’ve got to remain calm and work extra hard, which we are doing.

“Credit to the players for the way they go about training with their attitude and their spirit, but we expect them to put in a little bit more on matchday.

“That’s where we’re coming up short at the minute.”

Despite seeing debutant Tom Walker get off the mark with the game’s opening goal on Saturday, the Coasters found themselves on the wrong end of another disappointing defeat.

Goals from Asa Hall and Jamie Reid put the visitors in front at half-time, after which Ben Whitfield extended their lead to two goals on the hour mark.

Jordan Williams pulled a goal back for Fylde but they were unable to snatch an equaliser despite creating opportunities.

Fylde, who haven’t won in the league since November, now face a pivotal six-pointer next week against the side that directly above them in the league table – Chesterfield.

“They’re all massive games from here on in,” Bentley added.

“They’ve been massive games since we arrived at the club.

“We want to win every game and we’ve got to put points on the board.

“It’s not a case of having four games left where we’ve got to win all four, but we don’t want to be leaving ourselves too much to do.

“It’s not a nice position to be in. But I’ve been in this position in the past so I know what to expect and what to do. It’s about sticking together.

“It’s Chesterfield up next but there’s still loads of football still to play, but we’ve got to get the foot on the gas as soon as possible.”

New Tuesday dates have been confirmed for two Fylde fixtures in the National League.

The home match against Notts County, which was rained off last week, has been rescheduled for February 25 and the visit to Sutton United for March 17, both 7.45pm kick-offs.