AFC Fylde 1, Harrogate Town 2
Fylde’s losing run stretched to four games as mid-table Harrogate Town took all three points from Kellamergh Park.
The second-placed Coasters missed out on another opportunity to return to the top of Vanarama Conference North, after finding themselves two down by the half-hour mark.
After a slow start to the game, Harrogate began to press but the first real chance of the game fell to Fylde’s Richie Allen, who controlled well and chipped Town keeper Peter Crook, who back-pedalled to prevent the ball crossing the line.
The Coasters looked to be in the ascendancy as Adam Sumner’s cross from the left caused chaos in the Yorkshiremen’s box before being nervously cleared.
But Harrogate took the lead on 16 minutes, when Andy Gascoigne beat Ben Hinchliffe with a fine left-footed drive after good build-up play down the right.
The visitors then began a period of dominance as Lewis Turner smashed over from 35 yards.
Harrogate then had two good penalty shouts turned down in the space of 30 seconds, as Jordan Thewlis twice went down under challenges from Josh Langley.
The first looked a definite penalty near the bye-line and everybody in white was fearing the worst.
The second shout was a little more optimistic but in the Premier League both would probably have been given.
Danny Lloyd nearly caught Crook out with a finely struck free-kick but immediately Harrogate went up the other end and scored on 30 minutes.
Paul Clayton’s effort from around 30 yards was fired straight at Hinchliffe and it was an uncharacteristic mistake from the Coasters keeper as he allowed the ball to squirm through his hands and roll into the net.
Harrogate looked good value for their two goal lead, though Allen went close to getting a goal back quickly as he again lobbed Crook only see the ball fly just wide, with Lloyd almost getting a touch.
The introduction of Danny Rowe on 34 minutes to form a strike partnership with Matty Blinkhorn seemed to spark Fylde and became more influential as the game wore on.
Even so, Clayton and Ryan Fallowfield both had chances to add a third for Town before half-time, but Hinchliffe made sure the half-time score became no worse for Fylde.
Allen made three breaks down the right in quick succession just before the interval, the first of them producing a chance for Blinkhorn but he headed weakly at Crook.
Fylde had it all to do in the second half and Rowe’s ambitious left-foot shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Crook and gathered at the second attempt.
Sumner was off-target from a similar range and Brad Barnes scuffed a shot wide before Fylde man of the match Blinkhorn’s powerful drive flew high and wide.
Lloyd had a strong left-footed effort well held by the impressive Harrogate keeper and as Allen again fired just wide it looked like it wasn’t going to be Fylde’s day.
Thewlis had a great chance to seal Harrogate’s win on 78 minutes, when he went through one-on-one on Hinchliffe, but he fluffed the chance and was injured in the process.
Rowe gave the Coasters a lifeline a minute later, when he got on the end of Allen’s cross to score from around two yards.
Yet this proved only a consolation as it failed to spark a late Fylde surge.
Their only real chance of an equaliser was a 30-yard Langley piledriver, which rose just over the bar, and Harrogate held on for their third successive league win over Fylde.
Leaders Barrow were beaten too by Solihull Moors, which means Fylde remain two points behind with two games in hand and have a further chance to regain top spot with victory at home to Boston tomorrow, though the Lincolnshire club climbed into the play-off zone with Saturday’s 5-0 hammering of second-bottom Bradford PA.