AFC Fylde landed a historic first round FA Cup tie at home to Accrington Stanley as they beat Ilkeston 1-0 at the New Manor Ground last night in their fourth qualifying round replay.
An early goal from in-form striker Adam Farrell in the second minute was enough to see the Coasters reach the first round for the first time in the club’s history.
The game couldn’t have started any better for the visitors, scoring almost with their first attack. A move, which started deep in the Coasters half by Adam Sumner and Joe Booth, as they exchanged passes before releasing pacy forward Michael Barnes who broke down the left beat his marker Dan Partridge and produced a superb cutback on the edge of the penalty area.
The ball found its way to Adam Farrell and he steered home with a cool finish to silence the home crowd.
Ilkeston huffed and puffed to get back into the game, but Fylde broke again this time right back Steve Haslam got down the right and crossed for Farrell but his header flashed inches over the bar.
In a game that ebbed and flowed, Ilkeston keeper Ashley Timms then came close to throwing the game away for the home side when his poor clearance fell to Farrell 40 yards out but he didn’t react quickly enough to seize the moment to try and shoot from distance and the chance was gone.
In the second half, the home side threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Coasters rearguard looking to get back on an even footing but the Fylde defence, superbly marshalled by the returning Glen Steel held firm.
James Reid had a 20 yarder well saved by Ben Hinchliffe then another chance fell for Dereece Gardner, but to see his shot was blocked inside the penalty area and Adam Sumner cleared his lines.
The Coasters always threatened on the counter attack and in the closing stages they broke upfield, Michael Barnes going close after some good build up play from sub Harry Winter and Joe Booth created an opening at the back post but Barnes sliced his shot inches wide of the upright when it could have been all over.
The home side kept at it, searching crosses aimed for big front man Gary Rickett’s weren’t quite coming off until a scramble in the box saw his shot deflected over the bar and away from danger. Defender Glen Steel then went close to adding a second turning a header from Booth’s corner wide of the post.
Sub Daryll Thomas gave the home attack some fresh legs and looked the most likely of the home side to create an opening and snatch something from the game but it wasn’t happening in front of goal for Ilkeston – despite their valiant efforts from their talisman Gary Rickett’s whose late header was saved well by Hinchliffe and Fylde’s brave defending.
When the final whistle came it was firstly a feeling of relief then came the joy and Fylde were through to the first round with their opposition, Accrington Stanley’s management team, looking on.
Fylde Manager Dave Challinor said: “It’s a fantastic result! The lads have worked unbelieveably hard against an Ilkeston side who in my opinion are in a false position in the league.
“We had to defender resolutely second half and to come out on the right side of a result is not only fantastic for the club but the players as well and it’s just desserts for all the hard work they have put in from the start of the season to date. It’s a brilliant opportunity for us as a squad and management team to test ourselves against league opposition and it’s a great day for everyone involved to look forward too. We spoke at the outset of this competition that to get to the first round proper was an achievable objective if we had a little bit of luck in terms of performance and the draw.
“We have achieved that which is great but now we’ve an opportunity to show what we can do and hopefully in front of a TV audience too.”
Chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “Tonight is what we all do it for. As everybody knows the primary aim of this club is to get into the Conference North but to reach the first round of the FA Cup at this level is a massive achievement and in the short time that we have been in existence, it makes it all the more special. It’s a massive occasion and we are sure the local community will help make it a fantastic day.”
Matchday arrangements and ticket details for the Accrington clash set to be played on Saturday November 3, subject to TV selection, will be announced in the next 24 hours.