Fylde began another FA Cup adventure with victory over a very unfortunate Spartans side.
The North-East club took an early lead in this first qualifying round tie thanks to Matthew Wade, but Danny Lloyd levelled the tie before the break and it was a different story in the second half as Matty Blinkhorn and Jamie Rainford sealed the victory.
However, their Evo-Stik Northern Premier rivals Blyth will be ruing countless missed chances to ensure it was them who featured in today’s draw for the next round.
Blyth’s most dangerous player, Danny Maguire, had the first shot on target, firing straight at keeper Ben Hinchliffe after four minutes.
A minute later it was Wade who netted, finding himself in acres of space in the area to fire home Danon Mullen’s cross.
Fylde squandered an opportunity for an immediate equaliser when Lloyd missed Barnes’ cross completely, and then Andy Russell headed over from a corner.
The game became scrappy, with the home supporters increasingly frustrated by the referee’s decisions – most of which weren’t going in their side’s favour.
It was still Blyth who looked the more likely to score as Fylde, despite plenty of possession, couldn’t breach the home defence. Neal Hooks curled an effort over before Maguire squandered two great chances within a minute to double his side’s lead on the half-hour.
First he shot wide, then he was unable to capitalise on a mistake by Hinchliffe, who came out to deal with a through-ball but missed it completely only for Sumner to clear.
Ten minutes before the break, Fylde were back on level terms thanks to a superb turn and shot from Lloyd, rounding off a great Coasters move by firing into the bottom corner from the left of the box.
With half-time looming, Blyth missed two great chances – Maguire shot wide on 42 minutes, then Arjun Purewal’s overhead kick was saved point-blank by Hinchliffe in stoppage time.
Within six minutes of the restart, Maguire, Wade and Ian Watson all missed chances to restore the home lead, but the crucial third goal came largely against the run of play from a fine move by Fylde.
After breaking on halfway, Lloyd played the ball to Winter and he released Blinkhorn on the edge of Blyth’s box. The striker duly ran through and planted the ball into the net on 52 minutes.
Fylde knew the lead was a slender one as the home side still looked capable of scoring. Luckily for the Coasters, Nathan Buddle and Maguire, again, failed to find the target either side of the hour.
After Winter came close to making it 3-1 on 64 minutes, Blyth pressed forward again. Mullen and Robert Nolan couldn’t find an equaliser but the ball did hit the back of the Fylde net on 75 minutes, when Wade headed in a corner but the goal was disallowed as Hinchliffe was alleged to have been fouled.
It was Blyth keeper Connor Grant’s turn to pull off a fine save with five minutes to go, when Blinkhorn headed Mike Barnes’ cross at goal.
However, the final say went to Fylde in the dying seconds, when substitute Rainford was played in by Blinkhorn and he dinked the ball over the onrushing Grant for his first competitive goal for Fylde.
Fylde boss Dave Challinor was pleased with his side, who reached the first round proper last season before bowing out to Accrington Stanley. He said: “We knew it was going to be difficult and you’ve got to make sure you’re mentally switched on and start properly. Sods law, we didn’t, so we made it more difficult for ourselves.
“But it was a great reaction from the lads and I was pleased that we went in level. I thought we ground out a good victory and looked comfortable.
“I said to the lads at half- time that Blyth were only knocking long balls in and I’d expect my lads to deal with those two on one, though we didn’t for their goal.
“I think in the second half we dealt with it a whole lot better and it was a professional performance, which I thought was outstanding.”
Fylde’s attention returns to the league tomorrow, when Marine are the visitors to Kellamergh Park (7.45pm).
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin, Sumner, M. Hughes (C), Russell, C. Hughes, Booth (Rainford 60), Winter, Blinkhorn, M. Barnes, Lloyd (Denson 77); Not used: Hare, Taylor, Charnley, Gregory.