Zaine Francis-Angol says the key to AFC Fylde’s success this season has been their ability to do both sides of the game.
The Coasters, who are gearing up for two Wembley finals in as many weeks, made it to the play-off final on Saturday with a hard-earned 1-0 win at Solihull Moors.
The winning goal came from Danny Philliskirk after just two minutes, with Fylde spending the rest of the game successfully surviving an aerial bombardment.
Dave Challinor’s side are renowned for their pleasing-on-the-eye style of football, but Francis-Angol says their defensive bravery is just as impressive.
“It was a great finish from Philly for the goal. It was a great strike and for us to get a goal early was good,” the left back said.
“But it can go one of two ways. If you back it up and get another goal it relieves a bit of pressure.
“But it almost invited them onto us for quite a bit of the game and it seemed like we were under the cosh, especially with how they play.
“It’s all very direct into the box but we weathered the storm and did what it takes to get the result – that’s all that matters.
“I think the hardest thing you can find is a group of players that can play football, can do the fancy style, the passing, but doing the other side of it as well against sides that are direct.
“A lot of teams struggle against sides like this when you’re just getting pounded with the ball constantly.
“But we showed we can deal with it both ways. We can play when we need to and we can weather the storm when we need to as well.”
Fylde now face Salford City at the national stadium on Saturday, before facing National League champions Leyton Orient in the final of the FA Trophy the following weekend.
It will be a dramatic end to the campaign for the Mill Farm outfit, and London-born Francis-Angol can’t believe his luck.
“I don’t think I can even translate my feelings into words to be honest, it’s just amazing,” he said.
“To get to Wembley twice in a week with this group of lads, I can’t wait. There’s going to be a few sleepless nights this week!
“I’m a London boy so going back home and travelling 20 minutes, back in my home town and everything, it’s just crazy. It’s almost like Wembley will be our home ground for a week!
“I’ve had enough problems sorting tickets out for people for the FA Trophy, who knows what it will be like for this game?”
Francis-Angol, who joined Fylde in June 2017, says he’s delighted to extend what has already been a long campaign by another couple of weeks.
“All I can think about is the end of the season so I can’t even remember the rest of the campaign,” the 25-year-old added.
“I’m seeing lads from other clubs on holiday already but this is the business end of the season for us and if you had asked me at the start of the season we’d get to the play-off final and FA Trophy final I’d have bitten your hand off for it.”
The club are subsidising coach travel for juniors for Saturday’s play-off final, which kicks off at 3pm. Children aged under 16 can travel with club for just £5, with the prices subsidised in order to help families with the cost of an expensive day out.
“Two trips to Wembley in just eight days is a unique experience, and an unprecedented one for a club such as AFC Fylde,” the club said.
“We hope this gesture can help to get as many of you down to Wembley as possible for our game with Salford City and roar us on to the Football League.”
Travel can be booked online, in the club shop at Mill Farm, and the Wembley pop-up shop in Lytham, the club added.