AFC Fylde 4
Kendal Town 0
Evo-Stik Premier Division
AFC Fylde stuck four past Kendal Town and it could have been more on a rain-sodden pitch on the Fylde coast.
Kendal couldn’t live with wingers Michael Barnes and Richie Allen as time and again the Parkside Road outfit’s full backs were outclassed.
But there were positive signs in the display, in particular the central defensive partnership of on-loan Dean Overson and Martin Grundy.
Town looked dangerous going forward again, and new manager Steve Edmondson appears keen to continue Lee Ashcroft’s mentality of passing football as Kendal’s midfield stroked the ball around well at times on a very difficult pitch.
But their defensive frailties were exposed right from the off as Craig Dootson, who played magnificently throughout the match, made a wonderful save as early as the third minute to deny Fylde.
The home side came roaring out of the blocks and several timely interventions in the opening five minutes only just kept the Kellamergh Park side at bay as Overson and Grundy repelled all advances, with Allen hitting the sidenetting after getting past Danny McGahon.
Eight minutes were on the clock when captain Bradley Barnes hit the woodwork with a header in the box after great work by Michael Barnes on the right.
Dootson had a stormer in goal, punching clear under the attention of former Kendal Town striker Adam Farrell in the 13th minute from a corner as Kendal backs were up against the wall.
After a quarter-hour the Black and Whites had their first chance, Zach Clark shooting over after a nice passage of interplay with Carlisle United youth prospect and Kendal striker Alex Salmon.
The game had been played at a ferocious place that couldn’t last on a pitch with surface water that was holding up the ball every time a pass was attempted, and from the 20th minute the pace slowed as Kendal got back into the game, Clark doing well to get past Glenn Steel to get his shot away before keeper Ben Hinchcliffe got down well to save.
But Fylde were a dangerous proposition and Kendal’s captain was called into action several times. In the 21st minute, he saved from a Michael Barnes effort before eight minutes later making a point-blank save from a header by Michael Taylor, who had hit the side-netting just moments before.
But in the 29th minute, the deadlock was finally broken. Allen once again did the damage on the left wing, and he provided a superb cross which skipper Bradley Barnes couldn’t fail to miss just yards from the open net.
The goal seemed to spur Kendal on though, with Fylde’s Steel making a good tackle on Clark to stop him having a chance. Salmon should have shot earlier when he had the ball on the edge of the box, while Overson had a crack from 25 yards that failed to make an impression near the goal as striker Mike Rushton got more and more into the game by holding the ball up and bringing players around him into the match.
Overson made a superb double block in his own box to keep his side just one goal down, and in with a sniff of gaining a point out of the game going into half time.
In the second half AFC were once again on the attack from the beginning against Kendal, with Jack Dorney not too far away with one effort in the 50th minute.
But three minutes later he got his goal as Michael Barnes skipped past Nick Hayton, who signed from Kendal County before the match. He put the ball in and Dorney was left with an easy tap-in to add the second goal to Fylde’s collection.
Kendal’s Salmon played a nice one-two and got his shot away in the 63rd minute with the aid of a deflection that had to be patted out for a corner by Hinchcliffe, but Fylde wanted more. Grundy put in a superb challenge to deny Michael Barnes soon after, but the shot fell to Allen, who blazed his effort over the bar.
The home club’s ground staff were on the pitch with rollers, pitch forks and brushes to minimise the surface water at half time but it was still drenched, and Dootson made his only mistake of the day when he failed to collect Farrell’s shot on 78 minutes. The ball fell kindly to Dorney, who tucked the ball into the back of the net.
Three minutes later and it was four as Michael Barnes got a deserved goal. After a powerful run and some interplay on the edge of the box, he jinked past two defenders and scored an outrageous goal into the top corner from a tight angle to the delight of the home fans.
There was still time for the seasiders to create more chances, Dorney missing an open goal just minutes after the Michael Barnes wonder-strike, while Steel had a cross-come-shot well saved by Dootson.
Clark looked to have been fouled in an off-the-ball incident in the Fylde box with 14 minutes to play but the referee waved away the appeals, and that gave the Mintcakes a sign that it would not be their day.
There was time for substitute Brad Carsley to miss another open goal for the home side two minutes from full time but it didn’t matter as Fylde had done all the damage they needed to by then.
Hinchcliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Steel, Taylor, B Barnes (c) (Hughes 55), Dorney, Winter, Farrell, M Barnes (Carsley 80), Allen (Jarvis 70).
Subs not used: Bannister, Kusaloka
Yellow cards: None
Craig Dootson (c), Danny McGahan, Nick Hayton, Ben Fishwick, Dean Overson, Martin Grundy, Thomas Berwick, Maison McGeechan, Mike Rushton, Alex Salmon, Zach Clark.
Subs: Jack Cook (for Thomas Berwick 66), Alex Ralph (for Nick Hayton 72), Marley Gough (for Mike Rushton 80).
Subs not used: Liam Shields, Shaun Gardner.
Yellow cards: Danny McGahon, Dean Overson.
Key man: Craig Dootson - Pulled off a string of fine saves to keep his side in the match, and produced a captain’s performance with his constant words of encouragement for his young team.