Coasters coasting at the top

Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes
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AFC Fylde secured a comfortable 3-0 victory at Tamworth on Tuesday night to open up a four point lead at the top of the Conference North table.

Goals from Danny Lloyd, Joe Booth and Michael Barnes made it eight consecutive league victories for the Coasters.

Disciplined in defence, creative in midfield and prolific in front of goal, this performance epitomised their spirit and confidence at the moment.

Dave Challinor, who won September’s Conference North manager of the month award, made three changes to the side that beat North Ferriby United 1-0 on Saturday – Luke Denson, Joe Booth and Danny Lloyd replaced Liam Tomsett, Michael Potts and Danny Rowe.

Fylde came the closest to opening the deadlock in the opening exchanges.

Tamworth goalkeeper James Belshaw got down well to his right, after a long-range effort from Luke Denson in the 10th minute, before Caspar Hughes shot straight at the Belshaw from 10 yards.

The Coasters continued to control the tempo and it wasn’t long before they took the lead in the 23rd minute through Lloyd’s sublime left-footed strike from 30 yards which left Belshaw with no chance.

Fylde kept the unrelenting pressure on Tamworth with Richie Allen and Adam Sumner going close.

Tamworth were forced to settle with ambitious long-range efforts which rarely troubled Ben Hinchliffe.

Tamworth began the second half with more intent but Hughes missed a great chance to double the lead in the 53rd minute when his effort was cleared off the line by Thomas James.

It wasn’t up until the 61st minute when The Coasters grasped full control after Booth acrobatically headed in Michael Barnes’ exquisite cross to make the scoreline 2-0.

The provider then turned scorer as Barnes made it 3-0.

Hinchliffe cleared the ball into the opposition area with a huge clearance and Barnes reacted quickest to the loose ball and then chipped the on-rushing Belshaw before towering above three defenders to head the ball in to an empty net.

There was more positive news for the league leaders as striker Matty Blinkhorn made his first appearance for the club since his injury in last year’s play-off triumph in May.

Fylde have now scored 28 goals in eight games and have four consecutive clean sheets.

An FA Cup third-round qualifying tie against Buxton now awaits this Saturday.