Thursday 13th April 2023
Photo: AFC Fylde Women
AFC Fylde Women left it late to clinch a crucial 1-0 win away to Huddersfield Town Women FC at the Stafflex Arena on Easter Sunday.
A late penalty converted by Faye McCoy proved decisive in ensuring the Coasters took home all three points from their final away game of the 2022/23 season.
James Mallett’s team capped off a strong defensive display by scoring a late winner from the penalty spot to decide a closely fought contest in West Yorkshire.
Mallett made several changes to the starting line-up that faced Liverpool Feds last time out. Iszy Binks and Cara Bickett came into the defence, while there were also starts for Charlie Hignett and Rebecca Beresford. Amy Hughes was again named among the substitutes.
When the two sides faced off in the reverse fixture last October, Fylde managed to overcome the Terriers with a solid 2-0 win at Kellamergh Park.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Glen Preston’s side were looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat at home to Burnley FC Women only four days earlier.
On a bright afternoon at the Stafflex Arena, the Coasters made a promising start and looked to apply pressure on the Town backline from the outset.
Capitalising on a defensive mistake, Fylde worked an opening in the ninth minute, but the chance ultimately came to nothing.
In the early stages, neither side was able to wrestle control of possession or build up any real momentum going forward.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Terriers came close when Brittany Sanderson lined up a free-kick on the edge of the area. Her right-footed strike whistled inches past the far post but failed to trouble Liz Craven in the Fylde goal.
After the half-hour mark, the Coasters began to show some neat combination play in attack but were still unable to find a way through a well-organised Town defence.
Neither team was able to make the breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes, and the score remained goalless at the interval.
Half-Time: Huddersfield Town Women FC 0-0 AFC Fylde Women
The Coasters continued to restrict their hosts to limited opportunities in the final third, but the Terriers visibly grew in confidence after the restart as they pressed forward in search of the opener.
In the 57th minute, the Terriers created the next big chance from a corner kick. After Katie Mallin’s initial delivery was partially cleared, former Fylde midfielder Caz Fields chipped a teasing cross to the back post, but it just evaded the head of Katie Stanley.
Beresford, who had put in another excellent shift for the Coasters, made way for Hughes in the 65th minute. Hughes instantly looked to run in behind the defence and create space for her teammates in attacking positions.
In the 83rd minute, the Coasters were then awarded a penalty kick after Town substitute Yasmin Mason was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area.
McCoy converted the penalty with an unstoppable side-footed finish into the top-right corner. Despite guessing the right way, Town goalkeeper Abi Megeary was unable to keep it out.
After taking the lead, the Coasters had to keep their defensive shape to withstand a late onslaught from the Terriers. Minutes from time, the hosts thought that they had broken clear but were denied by the offside flag.
The visitors stood firm to secure their third win in four games. The result means that the Coasters leapfrog the Terriers into seventh in the table, albeit having played a game more than the West Yorkshire side.
The Coasters conclude their season with two back-to-back home games later this month.
Full-Time: Huddersfield Town Women FC 0-1 AFC Fylde Women
Without a fixture this weekend, the Coasters now turn their attention to their next game on Sunday 23rd April when they welcome West Bromwich Albion Women to Kellamergh Park.
Supporters are encouraged to come along and show their support for the team in what promises to be another competitive encounter.
Huddersfield Town Women FC: Megeary, Stanfield, Ibbotson, Mallin, Fields, Montgomery, Sanderson, Housley, Hulme (67′ Mason), Fletcher, Stanley
Unused substitutes: Joyce, Sumaili, Langford, Dill
AFC Fylde Women: Craven, Binks, Fryer, Bickett, Merrin, Forster, Rowe, Taylor, McCoy, Hignett, Beresford (65′ Hughes)
Unused substitutes: Hunter, Whitaker, Fenton
Report by Scott Jones