Chester 0 AFC Fylde 1: Three red cards and three points for Coasters as Danny Philliskirk heads winner

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A game of three red cards ended with three points for Fylde at the Deva Stadium.
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Danny Philliskirk headed the winning goal from Nick Haughton's cross to the back post with 15 minutes remaining.

Fylde's Pierce Bird received his marching orders as did the hosts' Adam Thomas and Joe Lynch.

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Danny Philliskirk heads Fylde's winner at Chester Picture: STEVE MCLELLANDanny Philliskirk heads Fylde's winner at Chester Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Danny Philliskirk heads Fylde's winner at Chester Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Coasters boss James Rowe made five changes to the side defeated at home by Scarborough Athletic a week earlier, with Curtis Weston, Bird, Connor Barrett, Keenan Patten and Brad Holmes replacing Harry Davis, Luke Conlan, Danny Whitehead, Joe Rowley and Sam Osborne.

The club's record goalscorer Danny Rowe, who returned to Mill Farm last week on loan from Chesterfield, was named among the substitutes and came on for the game's final quarter.

After a quiet opening, the first opportunity fell to the home side, when Declan Weeks managed to work some space 12 yards out but curled his shot over the bar.

When Fylde's Jordan Cranston had an opportunity to float a corner to Kyle Morrison at the back post, the defender headed back across goal into the path of Haughton, whose header was cleared off the line.

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Thomas crossed to the back post on 33 minutes and the rising Kole Hall's header was gathered calmly by Coasters keeper Chris Neal under pressure.

Chester had the final chance of the half, when Blackpool-born Kurt Willoughby's free-kick from all of 35 yards was dipping towards the bottom corner but Neal did well to parry away.

The talking point of the half came just before the interval, when both sides were reduced to10 men.

Bird looked to have made a fair challenge but Thomas responded angrily. Both players went head-to-head and earned themselves a red card.

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This certainly sparked the game into life after break, as Fylde brought on Osborne and Rowley, and Neal was tested by Weeks’ well-struck effort before the third red on 55 minutes.

Lynch kicked out at Cranston as the Fylde left-back ventured forward, then lifted his head to see the referee's red card in the air.

Rowe’s men started to find space as Chester sat in, and Haughton's curling effort was well saved by Harry Tyrer, diving to his left.

The keeper was at it again just past the hour, when Cranston’s superb cross from the right was headed towards the far corner of the net by Alex Whitmore but Tyrer kept it out with a fingertip save.

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The Fylde pressure eventually told and when Rowley's short corner was played to Haughton, he drifted into the area and crossed to the back post for the waiting Philliskirk to nod in from close range.

The Coasters protected their lead, allowing the hosts nothing more than a few half-chances, to make it three wins from five and climb to fifth in National League North ahead of Monday's home game against mid-table Southport.

Chester: Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks (Burke 56), Kenyon, Willoughby (Stephenson 59), Thomas, Devine, Coates, Lynch, Hall (Heywood 69), Edwards; Subs not used: Morgan, Murray.

Fylde: Neal, Morrison, Whitmore, Bird, Cranston, Barrett (Rowe 66), Philliskirk, Weston, Patten (Osborne 46), Haughton, Holmes (Rowley 46).