North Ferriby Utd 0 AFC Fylde 1

AFC Fylde's James Dean
AFC Fylde's James Dean
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James Dean came off the bench to head home the only goal of the game and claim a vital three points for AFC Fylde away to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier leaders.

In a game in which a draw seemed the likely outcome, Michael Barnes provided the cross for Dean to lose his marker and head past the outstretched keeper from 10 yards with 11 minutes to go.

Chances were few and far between early on as both sides were fighting for possession in midfield and defences to come to the fore.

United’s Nathan Peat had done his homework on winger Barnes, who struggled to find space for his crosses. He had to cut inside himself and fire a weak shot at goal which Adam Nicklin was happy to gather on seven minutes.

Fylde surged forward again on 21 minutes but this attack also came to a frustrating end when Barnes was again forced to cut inside from the wing, and his second effort on goal was blocked and cleared.

After another brief period of midfield battles and high balls to no one in particular, the game burst into life five minutes before the break.

Farrell’s head connected well with Glenn Steel’s long ball over the top and Nicklin had to track back to catch the ball on the line.

But then it was all North Ferriby until the break and they squandered three chances to take the lead.

Gregg Anderson fired just wide from close range on 41 minutes before Oliver Banks’ header at goal hit team-mate Ryan Kendall and sailed over two minutes later.

But the best chance came a minute before half-time, when Kendal burst through on goal and found himself one-on-one with Ben Hinchliffe, but last season’s Premier Division Goalkeeper of the Year lived up to his title to pull off a fantastic save to deny the Ferriby forward.

It took 15 minutes for anything of real note to happen in the second half but a good cross from Banks towards Bolder in the centre was easily dealt with by Hinchliffe, and on 65 minutes Matty Hughes cleared the danger for the visitors when Kendall was poised to break through again.

Fylde controlled the play for the next 20 minutes as Barnes had another effort before a cheeky back-heel from debutant Sean Cooke allowed Adam Sumner to shoot from range. Nicklin dived low to his left to tip the shot around his post.

Five minutes after Sumner’s effort, Fylde had the lead. Some more good play from the visitors meant Barnes could finally get a decent cross into the box which set Dean up nicely to head in unopposed from 10 yards.

Fylde could have made it two on 86 minutes, when Jack Dorney was bundled to the ground 25 yards from goal but Joe Booth’s free-kick went straight into Nicklin’s arms. Then, right at the death, the home side was awarded a free-kick of their own but Ryan Williams’ ball was cleared by Hughes, followed by a very welcome final whistle from the referee.

Coasters manager Dave Challinor was delighted with the result, saying: “It was a really positive away performance if you like and somewhere near what we were like last year. We’ve ground out a really good win.

“We’re of a belief that North Ferriby, Hednesford and FC United are in those top five places already and we’re fighting for one of the two other places.”

It was also pleasing for Challinor that his side came to the league leaders, won and kept a clean sheet but he added: “The other teams will take note of this result, but everyone in this league has treated us with respect and knows we’re a good side and they ultimately change their system to try to accommodate us.

“Now, we’ve changed ours a bit today to accommodate their front two, with the thought that if we can keep them quiet we can get an opportunity to win the game and it paid off.”

The victory lifted Fylde into the top 10 but they don’t have much time to relax as they face a long trip to Nottinghamshire tomorrow night to play bottom of the league Eastwood Town, when another win would lift Challinor’s side two more places.


AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Steel (C), Carden, Dorney, Booth (Dunn 89), Farrell (Dean 71), M. Barnes, Cooke (Taylor 90+2); Subs not used: McCarthy, B. Barnes.