Jim Bentley boosted now AFC Fylde defence is tougher to breach

Kyle Jameson on the attack for Fylde against Curzon Ashton
Kyle Jameson on the attack for Fylde against Curzon Ashton
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AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley is a happy man after watching his side’s defensive improvement.

READ MORE: Win could have been more emphatic as Fylde earn another home draw
Danny Rowe’s first-half goal might have given the Coasters an FA Trophy win against Curzon Ashton last weekend but it was a victory built on solid defensive work.

The clean sheet was Fylde’s fourth in a row at home and fifth in their last six matches overall.

In all Bentley has presided over 10 league and cup games since making the move from Morecambe, in which time his players have conceded only six goals.

“I think as a team we’ve been defending really well, which has been pleasing,” Bentley said.

“Certainly for a team that’s been struggling in the goals-against department to keep eight clean sheets in 11 games is fantastic.

“They haven’t done anything to hurt us first half. We could have scored quite a few goals but we didn’t.

“The longer it goes at 1-0, the opposition will always sense an opportunity to get back in the game and that’s what we had to guard against.

“It was a test character-wise in the last 15, 20 minutes, when they started having a bit more joy.”

Although the Coasters’ defence laid the foundation for their victory, it was a win that could have been more comprehensive.

Bentley’s players missed a number of opportunities to extend their advantage and make life easier as the game progressed.

Nevertheless, they closed out the game to set up a second round home tie against either Southport or South Shields on Saturday, January 11.

Those two sides were due to meet in a replay as the Gazette went to press last night, for the right to play at Mill Farm next month.

As the manager acknowledged, a second goal would have made it a more comfortable afternoon.

“Our keeper (Sam Hornby) has only made one save in the game and, at the other end, we’ve had plenty of chances,” Bentley added.

“If we go and get the second goal, the opposition have to throw caution to the wind earlier to get back in it.

“You can hit them on the break and usually these games go the way you want them to.

“You get in a comfortable lead and continue to create opportunities, score goals and win comfortably.

“Let’s not be negative about it – it’s a win and that’s pleasing.”

Fylde’s National League match at home to Notts County has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 14, with a 7.45pm kick-off. The fixture was scheduled for the opening weekend of the year, when the Coasters will visit Sheffield United in the FA Cup.