A proud and emotional AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor says it was fitting Danny Rowe was the club’s match-winning hero in the FA Trophy final.
READ MORE: Fylde overcome Leyton Orient to lift FA Trophy at Wembley
The striker’s sublime free-kick on the hour sealed a richly deserved 1-0 win for the Coasters against National League champions Leyton Orient at Wembley.
Rowe has scored over 150 goals since joining the club in 2014 but none as memorable as this.
Challinor said: “For what he’s done for us over the past five years, it’s really fitting he has his moment on the biggest stage of all.
“His moment has been enough for us to win the game and lift the trophy, so I’m delighted and made up for him. He’s been great for us.”
The win may not have made up for the previous weekend’s play-off final defeat to Salford City but it was fitting that a successful campaign for the Coasters ended with silverware.
“It feels a lot better than losing here,” Challinor added. “It’s third time lucky for me – as a player and manager I’d lost the previous two.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It doesn’t make up for last week but it certainly goes a long way to making us feel a lot happier. It will be a happier summer than it might have been.
“I thought we played unbelievably well, especially in the first half when we should have been in front.
“We probably scored at a good time in the second half, when they were having a good spell.
“We were under the cosh a bit and they brought on some good players. They hit the post a few times and stretched us.
“We had a bit of luck, which we didn’t have last week, but to win trophies and be successful you need a slice of luck.
“We lost our captain Neill Byrne to injury early on and at that point you’re almost thinking, ‘Not again’. We had to change it but I it galvanised the others. They were good enough to get over it.
“I think last week did us the world of good in the wrong way, in the fact we lost the game but gained an awful lot in terms of knowing how to play here.
“I don’t think anyone could argue we were deserving winners.”
The triumph created another piece of history for Fylde, who become the first non-league club to have won both the FA Trophy and FA Vase (in 2008).
“It means everything,” Challinor said. “To be the first to win the FA Vase and the FA Trophy creates history.
“It’s a brilliant day, and for us to bring 4,000 and 32 coaches here is an unbelievable effort for a club of our size.
“They’ll have had a great day and hopefully a few more will come to Mill Farm to see us next season.”