Trafford 2, AFC Fylde 4
Fylde moved up into the Evo-Stik Division One North play-off zone with a third successive four-goal win at Trafford.
This lively end-to-end game saw five goals scored in the first half before the Coasters confirmed the three points with a minute remaining.
New boss Dave Challinor had complained that his side were too dependent on long balls to striker Lee Thorpe and so decided to see how Fylde fared without the big target man, though the veteran frontman was brought on in first-half stoppage time.
The early signs were that they would cope well as Fylde started brightly and led 2-0 after 18 minutes courtesy of two strikes by top scorer Ritchie Allen.
Fylde looked determined to put last Monday’s defeat at high-flying Curzon Ashton behind them and Allen could have scored inside three minutes, shooting wide after being released by Keigan Parker.
Allen put that right with a well-worked team goal after seven minutes. The ball eventually found its way to the striker on the edge of the area and he shot past the diving keeper.
More Coasters pressure was rewarded 11 minutes later, when Allen found himself free in the box to fire home from close range.
Trafford’s first meaningful chance came on 29 minutes, when former Fylde defender Nia Bayunu headed wide.
A minute later, an excellent pass out wide from Simon Gallanders allowed Paul Ashton to cross from the left for Michael Oates to dive in front of Rick Mercer and head past keeper Richard Whiteside from close range.
Fylde’s two-goal lead was restored within a minute, when Gallenders was caught napping from the restart and surrendered possession.
Parker was eventually played through and rounded the keeper with ease to put the ball into an empty net.
But Trafford reduced the deficit again on 37 minutes, when Ashton reacted quickest to a poor clearance and fired a 25-yard shot into the bottom left corner.
An arm injury to Allen brought Thorpe into the action three minutes into stoppage time, and Trafford proceeded to dominate the early part of the second half.
Midfielder Joe Shaw had three attempts in five minutes before Oates had a shot blocked and Warren Collier fired straight into Whiteside’s hands from the edge of the area.
Home keeper Ben Robinson was brave and alert to keep Fylde at bay, surviving a penalty appeal for a foul on Parker.
Joe Booth’s attempted lob from 25 yards on 83 minutes could not beat Robinson, though the keeper was relieved to see the same player’s free-kick smash against the bar six minutes later.
Fylde sealed the points when Thorpe headed home from Barnes’ right-wing cross after 89 minutes.
The victory leaves Challinor with six points out of nine and his hectic start continues tomorrow, when Fylde visit AFC Darwen to begin their defence of the Lancashire FA Trophy.
Fylde: Whiteside, Heywood, Sumner, Mercer, Steel, Kay (Beattie 64), Booth, Stopforth, Barnes, Parker (Waddington 78), Allen (Thorpe 45); not used: Stringfellow, Doughty.