Whitby Town 1, AFC Fylde 2
Fylde battled back to the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier thanks to early goals from the two Matts, Hughes and Blinkhorn.
Whitby are still waiting for their first home win of the season, despite pulling a goal back midway through the second half through Adam Rundle.
But they couldn’t find an equaliser, while Fylde missed countless opportunities to put the game to bed.
Fylde scored from the first real attack of the game after five minutes. Blinkhorn’s shot from a corner on the left was parried into the middle of the penalty area by keeper Shane Bland and Hughes was waiting to smash home.
Three minutes later, Lee Bullock should have done better after Whitby won a throw-in from Ben Hinchliffe’s wayward kick. However, his shot from range went straight into Hinchliffe’s arms.
Fylde doubled their lead on 10 minutes, when Danny Lloyd broke on halfway and played in Michael Barnes on the right. He sent a pin-point cross towards the diving Blinkhorn, who headed in from six yards.
Winger Rundle was the dangerman for Whitby throughout the first half but he drove wide on 18 minutes from the edge of Fylde’s box.
The home side had two great chances within a minute. First Craig Farrell curled his shot high over the bar from the edge of the box, then Richard Pell headed narrowly over when a cross wasn’t dealt with.
Blinkhorn had the best of Fylde’s first half-chances but couldn’t find the target when Lloyd’s free-kick cannoned into his path off the wall on 29 minutes. Blinkhorn then fired wide from Barnes’ cross 10 minutes before the break.
In between those efforts, Whitby had a fine chance to capitalise on a defensive error but the unmarked Rundle volleyed straight at Hinchliffe from 15 yards with his unfavoured right foot.
Fylde knew they would need another goal in the second half to be safe and within seconds of the restart Lloyd shot wide on the turn after a good run and lay-off by Jack Dorney.
Barnes should have scored himself but shot inches wide when one-on-one with the keeper.
After Shane Henry, Graeme Armstrong and Kevin Burgess all failed to beat Hinchliffe, and Dorney and Lloyd missed good chances at the other end, it was Whitby who found the net through Rundle.
A corner eventually found its way to Armstrong, who was denied on the line by Andy Russell, but Lee Mason lofted the ball back into the area and Rundle was on hand to volley home from eight yards with 25 minutes to go.
Fylde had the better of the remaining chances as Lloyd tracked Barnes’ run down the wing but headed the cross over.
With six minutes remaining, Lloyd won a free-kick 20 yards out and Joe Booth was unlucky to see his effort come back off the crossbar.
In stoppage time, Lloyd was denied by Bland, who turned his shot around a post with his feet.
Fylde manager, Dave Challinor felt his side deserved their victory. He said: “It was a good result when you take into account the travelling. They had a disappointing result in midweek in the cup and I knew that if we started properly we could put them under pressure. We did that with two goals in the first ten minutes.
“Credit to them, though, as they kept going and once they got a goal to get the game became tight towards the end.
“My only criticism is that we could have made it a lot more comfortable for ourselves with the chances we had in the second half.
“We had three one-on-ones and two open crosses but we didn’t make the keeper work.”
Fylde, who lead Chorley on goal difference, will be looking to increase their advantage away to struggling Witton Albion on Tuesday (7.45pm).