Sharing goals is key for AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley as striker search goes on ahead of visit to Brackley Town

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AFC Fylde will again look to share the goals around as their frustrating search for a striker goes on ahead of tomorrow’s visit to high-flying Brackley Town.
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Fylde’s 3-0 win on Tyneside enabled Brackley to enjoy three days at the top, but Gateshead beat Blyth Spartans by the same score on Tuesday to regain pole position on goal difference, with Kidderminster Harriers and fourth-placed Fylde seven points behind.

Nathan Shaw’s first goal of an injury-hit season paved the way for the victory at Gateshead and provided boss Bentley with another welcome outlet for goals.

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Jim Bentley can't hide his delight over AFC Fylde's vital victory at Gateshead
Picture: STEVE MCLELLANJim Bentley can't hide his delight over AFC Fylde's vital victory at Gateshead
Jim Bentley can't hide his delight over AFC Fylde's vital victory at Gateshead Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

The Fylde manager told The Gazette: “Nathan has played well and had some really exciting moments. He is a big player for us, as he proved last season.

“This season has been disrupted for him but the goal will be a real boost for him and he will go from strength to strength now.

“We are very frustrated with the centre-forward situation and 100 per cent we are still looking.

“But we have goals elsewhere, with Danny Whitehead and Sam Osborne chipping in recently.

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“Goals change games at any level. We worked on getting down the sides and hitting the centre of the box, like Nathan Shaw did for his goal.

“It was a fantastically-worked goal and we always encourage forwards to get in at the business end, the six-yard box, like Nathan has.”

Much of the burden up front has been carried by Nick Haughton as injury limits Bentley’s attacking options and his efforts are greatly appreciated by the boss.

“Nick does really well for us and we’ve gone 4-3-3 recently to play to his strengths.

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“He is working harder than ever, putting shifts in, and for me he’s the best player in the league.”

The success at Gateshead followed a week of soul-searching following Fylde’s home defeat by Curzon Ashton but Bentley praised the squad’s reaction.

He added: “When you have a result like Curzon after the little spell we’ve been on, you are looking for a response and we went even further last week in training.

“The players had their own conversation as a group, we spoke to them as staff and spoke to individuals, then we put all our energies into beating a very good side in Gateshead.

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“They have fabulous players, they deserve to be top of the league and have firepower all over the pitch.

“But the lads have gone in and tried their best, and I think we thoroughly deserved the win.

“I think (centre-back) Harry Davis has come in and been excellent. He hasn’t put a foot wrong in two games. Throughout the team they all had a go.

“It was a big win for us and has given us a good shot in the arm. Now we go again at Brackley.”

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Brackley played out a 3-3 draw at Mill Farm this season and Bentley said: “They are very efficient and don’t concede many, though we managed to score three against them at our place.

“We went to watch them at Chester last week and they are a hard-working, durable side, with a nucleus of players who have been together for a few years. They will be a tough nut to Fylde Women return to league action at home to Nottingham Forest at Kellamergh Park on Sunday.

It’s third v fifth in the Women’s National Northern Premier Division, and victory would see the Coasters climb at least one place.

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