Defensive shutouts have been the key to AFC Fylde’s recent turnaround in form, according to boss Jim Bentley.
READ MORE: Coasters earn first appearance in third round of FA Cup
The Coasters’ 2-0 win at Kingstonian, which secured their passage into the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, made it three clean sheets in a week for Bentley’s men.
Fylde have conceded just four times in the seven games Bentley has taken charge of and it’s that defensive solidity that gives the Fylde boss encouragement for the future.
Bentley said: “It’s five clean sheets in six games now, and if you continue to do that it gives you a fantastic chance of winning football games as we’ve got goals in the team.
“Credit to the players – it’s them who put their bodies on the line.
“We’ve battled and limited Kingstonian to very little, and when called upon Sam Hornby has made some good saves.
“He’s come into the side and kept three clean sheets in a week, which is really pleasing.
“The good thing is there’s still more to come going the other way. We should have scored a couple more.
“Jordan (Williams) missed a fantastic chance to make it three when he missed from six yards or whatever it was.
“But irrespective of clean sheets, goals and whatever else, it was all about getting through to the next round, which we managed to do.
“I’m really pleased for everyone associated with the club. We can all dream now because that’s what the FA Cup is all about.
“These occasions are ones you want to be involved in and the rewards can be massive, but we’re delighted to get ourselves into the third round for the first time ever.”
Two first-half goals from Williams ensured there would be no upset for a Coasters side who made it three straight wins with an unchanged team from the midweek victory against Wrexham.
Williams laid the platform with an early goal after an opening eight minutes in which both teams felt their way into the game.
The forward then added a second on the stroke of half-time as he lashed home from close range.
The win ensured Fylde’s successful passage into the third round of the competition alongside Premier League and Championship clubs.
“I’m pleased and excited,” Bentley added. “These are always difficult games and that’s why there was so much exposure, with all the cameras being here for a potential upset.
“They’ve done fantastically well to get to this stage, so we had to be hard-working and disciplined, which we were.
“We scored good goals at good times but our game- management wasn’t the best as the game got stretched and it became a little bit too end-to-end.
“The good thing for us is that we got the second goal on the stroke of half-time, which was perfect timing for us as it just gave us that little extra shot in the arm.
“That took the wind out of their sails and it changed my team-talk a little bit as I wasn’t too happy about certain things.
“But it’s a difficult place to come. There’s a big crowd in, with it being the FA Cup.
“So when you analyse it, it’s just about getting through to the next round and that’s what we’ve done.”