Match report: Hartlepool 0 AFC Fylde 2
Danny Rowe's record-breaking goal sealed Fylde's first victory as a National League club.
Last season’s 50-goal striker beat Richie Allen’s club record of 119 goals with a neat late finish after Henry Jones had put the Coasters ahead shortly before half-time.
Rowe’s strike was also his 100th league goal for Fylde and secured their first win of the season at the sixth attempt, the perfect tonic ahead of tomorrow’s televised home clash with Barrow.
For this visit to a winless Hartlepool club that had been in the Football League for almost century before relegation in May, Fylde boss Dave Challinor stuck with the side that had earned a fourth draw in five games against Dagenham and Redbridge the previous weekend, with new signing Tom McCready among the substitutes.
The Coasters went close to a early goal when James Hardy headed narrowly wide from Andy Bond’s cross to the far post.
Rowe’s trickery down the left lit up the nervy opening stages as he kept possession superbly despite losing his footing and drove low into the side-netting.
The first of Hartlepool’s few chances was a 15-yard shot by midfielder Jack Munns which fizzed wide, but Fylde were beginning to turn the screw and home keeper Scott Loach had to react fast to get a foot to Rowe’s incisive through-ball before it reached Jack Muldoon.
After Rowe’s stinging long-range shot was deflected wide on the half-hour, centre-half Jordan Tunnicliffe had a header from the resulting corner cleared off the line.
The Coasters deservedly broke the deadlock five minutes before the break, when Muldoon’s inch-perfect cross from the left was volleyed into the bottom corner by Jones.
Boos rang around Victoria Park as the Coasters continued to dominate after the break and Rowe was close to grabbing his landmark goal when he shrugged off two markers but poked the ball wide after delaying his shot too long.
Rowe went closer moments later, Loach having to dive full-stretch to keep out his curling free-kick.
With the crowd on their back, Hartlepool were starting to lose their composure and both Muldoon and Lewis Montrose had shouts for penalties waved away.
The Coasters seemed content to keep the ball as their hosts offered little attacking threat and there were ironic cheers from the home fans when full-back Liam Donnelly dragged a long- range strike wide 10 minutes from time, their first effort of the second half.
Rowe rubbed salt in their wounds with his magic moment following a free-kick six minutes from time. A clever set-piece routine saw the striker sweep the ball into the bottom corner from Jonny Smith’s low ball.
Hartlepool: Loach, Donnelly, Watson, Harrison (Richardson 45), Adams, Featherstone, Donaldson (Rodney 62), Newton, Munns (Hawkins 62), Franks, Cassidy; not used: Woods, Deverdics.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Jones (McCready 76), Hardy (Smith 72), Muldoon, Rowe; Not used: Lynch, Ezewele,, Blinkhorn.
Referee: : S Lucas; Att: 2,954