AFC FYLDE 5 BOSTON UNITED 2: Pilgrims drop out off play-off spots after Coasters coast to victory

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

The highs and lows of Boston United’s season were condensed into just 27 minutes at Kellamergh Park.

With 10 minutes on the clock Dayle Southwell curled home an inch-perfect 30-yard free kick which, were it not for Mark Jones’ individual effort against Stockport County, would be up there as a contender for the Pilgrims’ goal of the season.

But before the half was out the striker’s afternoon was over, a hamstring injury leaving the club sweating about his availability for the National League North’s final nine matches.

With the 17-goal Southwell unable to cause havoc in the Fylde back line, the Coasters coasted to a 5-2 victory which saw the Pilgrims drop out of the play-off places, down to sixth.

Fylde were forced into a late reshuffle as defender and captain Tom Hannigan was injured in the warm-up, but it didn’t take them long to take the lead.

With just five minutes on the clock the Coasters were gifted the advantage, Joe Burgess’ scuffed clearance allowing Richie Baker a free run down the right to cross for Matty Hughes, who powered his header beyond Fabian Spiess.

A foul on Lewis Hilliard then allowed Southwell to weave his magic, his curling dead ball squirming beyond the fingers of former United trialist Matt Urwin.

But for the third time in four matches, the Pilgrims conceded on the stroke of half time.

Today it was the turn of James Hardy, cutting in from the right and beating Spiess with a low drive into the side netting.

It was 3-1 in the 61st minute when a Coasters corner saw Spiess block Hughes’ effort, only for Josh Langley to sweep the loose ball into the exposed net.

Jones gave the Pilgrims some hope with a looping header from Dylan McEvoy’s cross which beat Urwin via the post in the 68th minute.

But two madcap minutes saw the away side’s feint hopes of a fightback disappear.

Richie Baker made it 4-2 with a tight-angled drive before Boston’s Cameron Johnson was dismissed for a rash challenge on Hughes, less than two minutes after replacing Hilliard.

And in stoppage time it was five, Dion Charles curling home from inside the penalty area.

Dennis Greene made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Worcester, Burgess and Zak Mills - returning from a five-game injury absence - taking the places of John Sands and Stephane Ngamvoulou.

As well as producing three goals, the opening first half offered plenty more by way of goalmouth incident.

For the hosts Danny Rowe twice flashed efforts off target before bringing out a save from Spiess, the keeper also getting down quickly to get a firm hand behind Bohan Dixon’s strike.

In response, Urwin comfortably collected Mills’ back post volley while Southwell injured himself after drilling an effort over the Coasters’ bar.

After the interval both keepers proved their worth with fine reaction saves.

Urwin got enough behind the ball to tip Jay Rollins’ effort over while Spiess pulled off a point-blank body block to deny Rowe, Mills throwing his body in front of Hardy’s follow up.

Spiess was at full stretch when he palmed Rowe’s powerful long-ranger around his post, while Urwin again impressed as he held onto Rollins’ effort on the turn.

As Fylde looked to add to their advantage, Spiess pulled off two dramatic double saves to dent Charles, the same player prodding a low effort off target.

In stoppage time Charles finally got his goal, adding insult to injury as United now have the task of forcing their way back into the play-off spots.

FYLDE: Urwin, C. Hughes, Langley, Crainey, Sumner, Baker, Barnes, M. Hughes (Lloyd 75), Dixon (Blinkhorn 85), Hardy (Charles 74), Rowe; Subs: Collins, Hinchcliffe.

UNITED: Spiess, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, McEvoy, Mills, Burgess (Felix 61), Roberts, Rollins, Southwell (M. Jones 37), Hilliard (Johnson 68); Subs (not used): Ngamvoulou, Sands.

Ref: Christopher O’Donnell.

Att: 479.