Nantwich Town 0 AFC Fylde 1: Ryan Croasdale's freak goal sends Coasters through in FA Cup

Fylde players mob Ryan Croasdale on scoring the winner at Nantwich Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Fylde players mob Ryan Croasdale on scoring the winner at Nantwich Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
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AFC Fylde won through to the second round of the FA Cup thanks to a somewhat fortunate Ryan Croasdale goal on the stroke of half-time at Nantwich.

READ MORE: Fylde boss Bentley bids to bring best out of Danny Rowe
Despite a spirited performance from the Dabbers, who play two levels below Fylde in the Northern Premier League, they were unable to deny Jim Bentley his first win as Coasters manager.

Dan Lavercombe replaced James Montgomery in goal for Fylde, though the only outfield change to the side which had started both National League games under Bentley saw Dan Bradley come into the midfield for Nick Haughton.

The hosts were roared on by a bumper home crowd at the Weaver Stadium, though Fylde striker Danny Rowe tried to quieten them as he hammered an early 30-yard free-kick, forcing keeper Gregory Hall into an unassured save.

As the game started to open up a little, Rowe drove into the box but his cross eluded everyone and the danger was clear.

A quiet spell followed before Rowe had another shooting chance, fizzing his effort just wide from 30 yards.

The Dabbers' first opportunity of note arrived when former Coasters player Sean Cooke struck a free-kick into the wall, having been brought down by Danny Philliskirk.

Fylde then broke as Jordan Williams burst down the left and found Croasdale, who looked to have got his first-time finish all wrong.

The midfielder's shot skewed high into the air, though the ironic cheers of the home fans were soon silenced as Croasdale's effort bounced down on to the goal-line and in off a post for what proved the winner.

The Coasters' number eight was mobbed by his team-mates after his inadvertent finish on 44 minutes, though Fylde deserved their half-time lead on the balance of play.

The first chance of the second half fell to Cooke, whose shot from range veered wide.

Nantwich’s sense of urgency grew and a surging run by centre-half Ben Harrison took him all the way into the Fylde box before he lost control of the ball and fell to the ground. The referee waved play on despite animated penalty appeals.

The Coasters made changes, with creative midfielders Haughton and later Mark Yeates joining the fray.

And this nearly paid off as Yeates picked out Neill Byrne in the box. The defender controlled the ball well and slammed it home only for the offside flag to be raised on the near side.

The Dabbers enjoyed their best spell of possession late in the game as they tried to force an equaliser, striker Joe Malkin firing well over the crossbar.

Nantwich introduced another frontman in Clayton McDonald, who bought a strong physical presence to the final moments.

They even brought goalkeeper Hall into the attack for a corner at the death but there was to be no fairytale finish for the hosts.

Indeed, as the corner was cleared Yeates had an open goal in front of him with Hall stranded upfield. However, the substitute was fouled and that was the referee's cue to end the game.

Fylde are in Monday's second-round draw for only the second time in their history and Bentley said: "To come here, play against a very good side and keep a clean sheet was massive.

“It was all hands to the pump at times. I thought some of our play first half was okay but I think there’s more to come in that department.

“Second half I thought Nantwich were brilliant, caution to the wind.

Fylde: Lavercombe, Taylor, Byrne, Whitmore, Burke, Croasdale, Philliskirk, Bradley (Haughton 63), Kosylo (Yeates 73), Williams (Forbes 84), Rowe; Subs not used: Duxbury, Jameson, Craigen, Green

Nantwich: Hall, Bourne, Devine, Harrison, Langley, Hughes, Lawrie (Mwasile 77), Webb, Malkin (McDonald 87), Cooke, Walsh (Schousboe 83); Subs not used: Stair, Moss, Davis, Saxon

Ref: Ben Speedie

Attendance: 1,544