James Craigen confident AFC Fylde have turned corner

Neill Byrne gets a header in but Fylde's creative play is a worry for their manager Dave Challinor   Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Neill Byrne gets a header in but Fylde's creative play is a worry for their manager Dave Challinor Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
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James Craigen believes AFC Fylde’s hard-fought point against Harrogate Town on Bank Holiday Monday can act as a turning point for the Coasters.

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Dave Challinor’s men stopped the rot with a goalless draw at Mill Farm, having previously suffered back-to-back 4-1 defeats.

Fylde were again far from their free-flowing best, Craigen and his team-mates having to do plenty of defending to earn their point.

But the summer signing believes the result can spur the team on to bigger and better things in the coming weeks.

Craigen said: “We’re disappointed not to get three points being at home but there are plenty of positives to take from it.

“We played well in the first half and were unlucky not to be ahead.

“And in the second half, although we didn’t create as much, we did well to dig in and get that clean sheet.

“As a defender you’re always happy with the clean sheet, but we know there’s a lot more to come at both ends of the pitch. That’s what we’re working towards.”

The clean sheet marks a significant return to form for the Coasters defence, which has already leaked 11 goals this campaign.

The loss against Halifax on Saturday saw the promotion-chasers suffer their first back-to-back league defeats since November 2018.

But Craigen says the players have what it takes to bounce back and elevate themselves up the National League table.

“We know that the two results weren’t good enough and that the performances simply weren’t good enough,” he added.

“But when you face adversity like this, the only way to get out of it is to stay together, work harder than ever before and get back to basics at times.

“We need to focus on putting that first half performance against Harrogate into 90 minutes and I think teams will struggle against us.”

Next up for the Coasters is a trip to the south-east to take on a high-flying Bromley side, who sit in second position and remain unbeaten so far this campaign.

Craigen added: “Bromley have had a good start to the season but we’re confident that with the ability we’ve got in the changing room we can beat anyone.

“Although we’ve not got the win against Harrogate, we can kick on from here and use this clean sheet as a platform to get back to winning ways, starting this weekend.”

If Fylde are to put an end to their worrying recent form, Challinor believes improving their creativity will be crucial.

“You’ve got to create chances,” the Fylde manager said.

“When you’re not as free-flowing as you would like, there can be a tendency to snatch a little bit.

“We just need to be more composed when we are creating chances.

“The worry is we haven’t been creating chances lately.

“Harrogate were pressing up high and that left gaps in behind.

“We’ve got to be intelligent enough to recognise that and play a little bit longer at times.

“But there was a tendency to keep doing what we were doing but 40 yards deeper. And for me as a manager and a former defender, I see danger signs in that.

“People have made poor decisions and we’ve got away with it.

“I now expect a really tough game against Bromley because they recruited really well in the summer.

“It’s a 3G pitch, which is another challenge, but ultimately at the moment my concern is us.”