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Match Report: Halifax FC Women v AFC Fylde Women

Sunday 5th May 2024

FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division

Photo: Heather Watson - AFC Fylde Women

AFC Fylde Women signed off the season on Sunday with a 6-1 loss to Halifax FC Women at Southerns Stadium in Leeds.

In their final fixture of the 2023/24 campaign, the Coasters travelled to West Yorkshire for their away encounter with Rob Mitchell’s high-flying Eagles.

Jake Williams's and Steve Mainwaring's team were hoping to upset the form book when they took on the Eagles, who boasted three wins out of their previous four games.

Unfortunately, it proved to be a step too far for the visitors as Halifax recorded an emphatic victory to secure an impressive sixth-place finish, while Fylde ended the season bottom of the table in twelfth place.

Fylde's starting line-up saw the return of Rachel Wood in defence and Lois Moore in attack, while Eve Whitaker was named as a substitute.

The Coasters almost made the perfect start inside the first minute as Codie Thomas centred for Clara Samson, who directed her header on target but Halifax goalkeeper Becky Flaherty made a crucial save.

Moments later, Moore raced clear through the middle but saw her shot blocked by a recovering Halifax defender.

The Eagles opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark with their first attempt on goal. Lucy Sowerby’s drive was followed in by Drew Greene to give the hosts an early lead.

Halifax went on to double their advantage in the 30th minute after Georgia Stevens met a cross with a towering header into the top corner.

Five minutes later, Fylde goalkeeper Liz Craven showed sharp reflexes to repel Issy Dean’s fierce shot on target. It was an excellent save by Craven to keep the hosts at bay.

After making a promising start to the contest, the Coasters somehow found themselves two goals down at the interval.

Half-Time: Halifax FC Women 2-0 AFC Fylde Women

There was a change of goalkeepers at the start of the second period as Craven was replaced by Imogen Maguire between the sticks.

Shortly after the restart, Samson made a darting run down the wing and flashed an effort across goal that flew just wide of the far post.

In the 48th minute, the Coasters were disappointed to concede a scrappy third after a goalmouth scramble in their box resulted in Halifax’s Shauna Legge firing into the roof of the net from point-blank range.

Despite the setback, Fylde continued to search for a route back into the game. Karri Chan beat the offside trap to find herself through on goal, but Flaherty made a vital stop to curtail Chan's run and keep the ball out.

In the 59th minute, the Eagles scored their fourth of the afternoon when Courtney Willis showed great composure to fire into the bottom corner of the net.

A couple of minutes later, Fylde managed to pull a goal back thanks to a sublime solo run by Moore. Weaving her way through the Halifax defence, Moore drove forward, rounded Flaherty, and slotted the ball home to make it 4-1.

In the 74th minute, Whitaker replaced Faye Dale to provide some fresh energy in midfield after the hosts had already made several substitutions of their own.

In the closing stages, the game got away from the Coasters as the Eagles added further gloss to the scoreline. In the 81st minute, Megan Boydell collected the ball on the edge of the area and unleashed an unstoppable strike past Maguire to make it 5-1.

As the game entered five minutes of stoppage time, Halifax rounded off the scoring as Boydell’s free-kick was guided into the back of the net by Willis’s glancing header.

The full-time whistle brought the curtain down on a difficult campaign for the Coasters, who can now look ahead to the summer as they prepare for life in the fourth tier next season.

Full-Time: Halifax FC Women 6-1 AFC Fylde Women

Halifax FC Women: Flaherty, Boydell, Legge, Dean (74’ Darcie Greene), Walton, White (57’ Ramsden), Drew Greene (67’ Armson), Kemp (67’ Watson), Sowerby (57’ Oliver), Stevens, Willis

AFC Fylde Women: Craven (46’ Maguire), Thomas, Hamill, Strutton, Wood, Rowe, Rogers, Dale (74’ Whitaker), Moore, Chan, Samson

Report by Scott Jones

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