VERDICT: AFC Fylde 0 Salford City 3

Danny Rowe is stopped by Salford City. Photo: Steve Mclellan
Danny Rowe is stopped by Salford City. Photo: Steve Mclellan
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AFC Fylde's quest for a historic promotion to the Football League ended in tears at Wembley.

And unfortunately for the Coasters they only had themselves to blame as Salford City turned on the class to clinch a 3-0 win and a place in League Two.

They say the recipe for winning football games is simple.

Get the basics right, take your chances and add a sprinkle of luck along the way.

With that in mind sometimes the better footballing side do not end up with their rewards.

And though Dave Challinor's side showcased some silky skills in the first 45 it was the lack of those three components that sent them on the way to a play-off final defeat.

A lapse of concentration on a set-piece, a clearance bouncing to the feet of Salford man Mani Dieseruvwe and a lack of bite up the other end saw Fylde enter the break a goal down.

The Coasters had cause for complaint with the officials as replays showed Dieseruvwe was offside in the first stage of play.

But in the second 45 there was no contest as a Salford side with the bit between their teeth galloped on to the Football League.

Carl Piergianni's bullet header from a corner in the 53rd minute crushed Fydle's spirit and when Ibou Touray's cross from the left sailed home in the 61st minute promotion was wrapped up.

That goal, an unintentional one regardless of what the Salford man will say in his post match press, summed up the day for City.

Lady luck had shone on Salford from the off and the Coasters had no reply.

Their talismanic striker Danny Rowe kept quiet by the defensive might of his ex-Fleetwood Town team mate Nathan Pond and Piergianni.

Fylde simply just could not find a way back.

It was a case of City wanting it more in that second half and they certainly upped a gear in the second half.

Credit to Salford who did not put a foot wrong all day, Fylde will regret they did not find another gear in what was a disappointing second half showing.

The Coasters' are set to drown their tears rather than bask in champagne showers.

Tough lessons to be learned, especially from set-pieces but having made history by reaching this stage one you will guess they will learn those lessons next term.

A cruel way to end their promotion quest.

But it could have been a different story, had they exploited their dominance in the first half.

AFC Fylde boss Challinor opted for the same starting XI that beat Solihull Moors 1-0 in the semi-final.

Fylde set-up in a 4-3-3 formation with Luke Burke, Neill Byrne, Jordan Tunnicliffe and Zaine Francis-Angol at the back.
Ryan Croasdale started in a defensive midfield role with Andy Bond and Danny Philliskirk also featuring in midfield.
Dan Bradley, Danny Rowe and Alex Reided start up front as Fylde aimed to reach the Football League for the first time in their history.

In the build up the talk was that the size and quality of the Wembley pitch would play into Fylde's hands.

And that looked to be the case in the opening stages as they sprayed the ball across the park and exploited the flanks before Rowe found room in the middle.

He chipped the ball up to Bradley and his cross just missed the toe of Alex Reid.

Reid saw another effort blocked after some neat link-up play with Burke on the right flank.

But his day was not to last.

Burke had struggled with a hamstring injury in the season and pulled up in just the sixth minute.

He carried on but it would not be for long.

Wiseman fired wide for Salford and then up the other end Fylde gained a set-piece in prime Rowe territory.

Bradley was brought down by Pond who picked up a booking.

But Rowe could only blast the ball straight into the wall, it would sum up his day.

But despite Fylde's flair on the ball they lacked an end product and they were undone by the two things you need to win football games in the opening stages. A touch of fortune and completing the basics.

Mani Dieseruvwe looked to be a shade offside in the first phase of play as they whipped in a set-piece.

Danny Rowe and Luke Burke saw the ball ping off them both as they failed to clear with the ball pinging into the path of the unmarked Dieseruvwe who could not believe his luck as he swept the ball into the bottom corner in the 15th minute.

Fylde had the second meanest defence in the whole of the National League but they paid the price for napping at Wembley.

They stuck to their principles and kept the ball on the deck, spraying the ball across the Wembley carpet.

But they just lacked that touch of bite in the final third.

Haughton brought a spark off the bench as he came on for the injured Burke.

The right-back unable to continue with the Coasters a goal down.

He had soldiered on but could not continue though the change favoured Fylde as Bond moved to right back and Haughton was able to find holes in Salford's defence.

The best Fylde chance came from the duo. A neat one two between Haughton and Bond saw the latter just fizz the ball over the bar.

Perhaps he could have hit the target and tested Neal but it was to be a quiet afternoon for the Salford keeper with Rowe, Bradley and Croasdale all firing off target.

Ex City man Haughton was a constant thorn in Salford's side since his introduction in the 20th minute but despite his spark he could not find a way through their mean defence.

And it was to be a different story in the second half.

Salford went for the jugular and after Dieseruvwe wasted a golden opportunity by nodding wide at the near post the Ammies made it two.

A short corner routine saw the ball whipped in on a plate for Carl Piergianni who out-muscled Byrne and left Reid static to thunder home in the 53rd minute.

It was a deserved second for Salford and with 13 clean sheets in their previous games it looked like Fylde's promotion hopes were over.

It went from bad to worse minutes later as Ibou Touray added a third.

He sprinted down the left flank, danced past Andy Bond and whipped the ball into the mix.

But instead of finding a red shirt his cross flew into the goal.

Unintentional but it summed up Salford's day as lady luck once again shone on Graham Alexander's men.

Fylde just did not have an answer.

Like Haughton in the first 45 James Hardy added a spark to the attack but aside from Philliskirk's long range effort Fylde barely had a sniff as Salford defended superbly.

A disappointing day for the Coasters tinged with regret but if they wish to get out of the National League then they need to defend set-pieces better and sparkle up front.

Harsh lessons to be learned but the better side on the day gained their just desserts.

Fylde: Lynch, Francis-Angol, Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, Bond (Crawford), Philliskirk, Burke (Haughton), Bradley, Reid (Hardy), Rowe

Salford: Neal, Wiseman, Pond, Touray, Mafuta (Rodney), Piergianni, Hogan, Maynard, Redmond, Whitehead (Shelton), Dieseruvwe (Gaffney)

Referee: James Oldham

Attendance: 8,049