Match report: AFC Fylde 2 Guiseley 1
Danny Rowe's stunning 30-yard strike two minutes from time sealed a victory which maintained Fylde's outstanding run and lifted them within three points of the Vanarama National League play-off zone.
Guiseley’s James Roberts thought he had earned a point after cancelling out Jonny Smith’s neat opener only for Rowe's magnificent free-kick to take his league tally for the season to 15. Fylde remain 11th but have taken 13 points from a possible 15 since their Boxing Day defeat at Tranmere and have a game in hand on all the teams above them bar Wrexham.Defender Sam Stubbs was handed his full debut as Dave Challinor made three changes to the side held by Chester last Tuesday. Andy Bond returned in midfield and Luke Burke was recalled at right-back following Jordan Richards' move to National North club Southport on Friday.It was Fylde's opposite full-back who almost made the breakthrough inside three minutes as Bond sent Zaine Francis-Angol racing through on goal but the 23-year-old took the ball too wide and his eventual strike was well smothered by keeper Joseph Green.Rowe got his sights in two minutes later and his effort was awkwardly turned around the post by Green.Bond created another glorious chance to put the Coasters ahead when Jonny Smith latched on to his looped ball over the top, and although the winger beat a hesitant Green to the ball, his shot flashed wide of the far post.Bristol City loanee Smith wasn’t to be denied for long and made the breakthrough on 18 minutes. A long ball from Jordan Tunnicliffe was flicked on and Smith nipped in between the centre-halves to slot the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.The Coasters went in search of a quick second when Sam Finley exchanged passes with Smith before seeing his effort from 10 yards palmed away by Lions keeper Green.The Leeds club hit back with an equaliser out of the blue on the half-hour. A deep cross from the right found the unmarked James Roberts, who couldn’t miss with a header from close range.Challinor’s side kept their foot on the gas and Smith was agonisingly close with a curling effort that whistled past the far post.Roberts also fancied his chances of a second and tested Coasters keeper Jay Lynch with a stringing drive from 25 yards.Wigan loanee Stubbs nearly made the perfect start to his Fylde career when a long free-kick was dropped by Green but the towering defender could only poke his shot over the bar.Burke and Smith caused havoc down the right after the restart, combining on one occasion only for Smith to fluff his lines just inside the area. Guiseley fashioned a rare opportunity and Dayle Southwell was inches away from a debut goal as he almost connected with a low cross from fellow new signing Jake Sheppard. The menacing Smith was unlucky to see his snapshot from Bond’s knock-down blocked but it was Coasters keeper Lynch who pulled off the save of the afternoon on the hour, remarkably stopping the powerful Rowan Liburd's drive with his forearm.Rowe looked certain to score and latching onto Smith’s cutback only to see three attempts blocked by last-ditch challenges.Francis-Angol should have given the Coasters a deserved lead seconds later from Smith's precise pass but the left-back's shot with his right foot was deflected just wide.The Coasters continued to have far more of the chances as Rowe lashed a sweetly-struck half-volley just wide from 25 yards. The league's top scorer was getting closer all the time and could only watch in disbelief as his close-range header looped over the keeper and against the crossbar. But Rowe was not to be denied, and after being brought down 30 yards from goal he dusted himself down before crashing the free-kick beyond the despairing Green.Southwell almost nicked a point for the visitors at the death but Lynch pulled off another fabulous save to keep out the frontman’s curling effort.
Fylde: Lynch, Burke (Chettle 68), Tunnicliffe, Stubbs, Grand, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Finley (Taylor 90), Smith (Muldoon 73), Rowe; Not used: Tasdemir, BlinkhornGuiseley: Green, Palmer, Purver, M’Boungou, Liburd (Fondop 79), Harvey, Hughes (Odeyayi 90), Crookes, Roberts (McFadzean 62), Sheppard, Southwell; Not used: Brown, Lenighan.Att: 1,535