Shropshire Star

AFC Fylde 3-1 AFC Telford United - Report

A second successive weekend in Lancashire brought no reward for Paul Carden’s Bucks, who enjoyed spells of possession and what appeared to be control in this game but were always chasing the game after conceding early on.

Byron Moore of AFC Telford United.

Paul Carden changed formation and went with a five-man defence, utilising Brad Bood and debutant George Burroughs as wing-backs, the latter having arrived from Coventry City. It looked a positive move, given that his side were facing one of the sides tipped for automatic promotion, but as early as the 4th minute the Bucks were behind.

Danny Rowe, greeted as a returning hero after coming back to Fylde on loan from Chesterfield, was slipped through the Bucks defence by their chief playmaker and scorer, Nick Haughton, and although goalkeeper Luke Pilling closed the angle, Rowe’s thumping shot came off the body of Pilling and went underneath him, into the far corner.

The Bucks responded positively to that early blow, and for the next 25 minutes looked capable of getting back into the game with an equaliser. Carden’s side got the most joy when attacking down the left, Bood overlapping, and the front three of Brendon Daniels, Byron Moore and Devarn Green kept the Fylde defence watchful.

Daniels volleyed a loose ball through a crowd of players, only to see Fylde keeper Chris Neal, the ex-Shrewsbury Town stopper, hold his effort, whilst Moore also cleared the angle of post and bar.

Fylde did have chances, and Rowe pulled away from a crowd of players in the six-yard box to glance a header wide from a corner, and in the 28th minute they registered a second goal. Haughton has a touch of magic about him and when Fylde found him close to the penalty spot, he found a yard and fired a low shot past Pilling to the keeper’s left.

At that point, you feared the Bucks might crumble, but within a minute they had cut the deficit back to one goal. Moore, once again the man looking most likely for the Bucks, ghosted in onto a cross from the right and headed the ball past Neal into the far corner.

The Bucks had penalty claims turned away when Daniels was challenged as he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box to shoot. The challenge took the pace off his effort, and referee Helen Conley saw nothing to make her stop the game. For a brief moment the game threatened to boil over a little, Moore being booked as he pushed over Danny Philliskirk after the Fylde midfielder had fouled him.

The half closed with the Bucks toe-poking the ball back to Pilling when Connor Barrett tried to burst onto a ball in the box, and Daniels striking a free-kick over the defensive wall and straight at Neal.

Half Time: AFC Fylde 2-1 AFC Telford United

The second period appeared to hinge on who’d score the next goal. Fylde left-back Jordan Cranston came into the game more as an attacking force, and cut inside Jordan Piggott to fire a shot over Pilling’s crossbar.

Another free-kick from Daniels found the gloves of Neal, and Haughton responded with a low shot wide of Neal’s far post as the two teams exchanged efforts on goal.

In the 63rd minute there was controversy; Harry Flowers stumbled and lost possession centrally, giving Haughton a chance to run at goal. As he reached the penalty area, Piggott challenged him and although Haughton fell, referee Helen Conley indicated Piggott took the ball. Haughton then must have handled the ball on the floor, as a Bucks free-kick resulted.

The home side weren’t kept off the scoresheet for long, however; in the 66th minute, Cranston got away from Piggott on the left, the two being former Solihull Moors teammates, and when Cranston delivered his low cross, Bucks skipper Matty Brown had no option but to slide in, with Tom Walker lurking behind him. Brown’s despairing slide put the ball past Pilling, although the PA announcer gave Walker the goal.

The Bucks almost replied instantly, Brown having a header cleared off the goal-line, and Carden rang the changes with substitutions.

Pilling was soon bust producing the best save of the afternoon, flicking the ball over his bar when Haughton met a Cranston cross on a run to the near post.

Nate Blissett was introduced, and could, indeed probably should, have scored with his first touch; instead, he directed a header over the bar having got in behind Fylde skipper Alex Whitmore from a left-wing cross.

Substitute Jamie Allen also showed glimpses of his pace, which should help the Bucks attack, which has been shorn of Jason Oswell for a longer period after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his leg.

Alas, the third goal had put the game just out of the Bucks reach, and it ended with a scoreline that perhaps looks more comfortable for the hosts than actually transpired.

Referee: Helen Conley.

Assistants: Jonathan Gill, Sam Parnaby.

Attendance: 787 (66 from Telford).

Telford: (4-2-3-1) Pilling, Burroughs, Bood, Piggott, Brown (c), Flowers, Ekpolo, Evans (Baker 74), Moore (Blissett 84), Green, Daniels (Allen 74).

Subs not used: Nolan, Carson.

Scorer: Moore (30).

Cautioned: Flowers, Evans, Moore.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Barrett, Cranston, Morrison, Whitmore (c), Bird, Weston (Hatfield 56), Philliskirk, Walker (Rowley 72), Haughton, Rowe (Patten 78).

Subs not used: Obi, Conlan.

Scorer: Rowe (4), Haughton (28), Brown (own goal 66).

Cautioned: Rowe.