Brackley Town were unable to halt AFC Fylde’s march towards the Vanarama National League North title.
Clinical finishing was the difference between the two teams in a close game at St James Park where the leaders ran out 3-1 in winners in Saturday’s clash.
Saints boss Kevin Wilkin made four changes to his starting line-up with a debut for Matthew Barnes-Homer, a first start for James Clifton on his return to the club and starting places for Matt Lowe and Jordan Gough.
Saints started brightly and enjoyed the greater share of possession and the better chances of a first half that produced only a single goal. Ellis Myles, Matt Lowe and Glenn Walker all had chances before the league’s top scorer Danny Rowe showed his prowess in front of goal to finish emphatically giving the Coasters a 21st minute lead.
Saints recovered from going behind to finish the half strongly and again began the second period well with Fylde on the back foot. Laurie Walker saved well with his feet as Dan Bradley found himself through on goal and Glenn Walker came close to equalising with a header from Jimmy Armson’s deep cross.
Fylde grabbed a second goal as Steve Williams poked the ball over the line from a corner in the 66th minute but moments later Clifton pulled a goal back. Making his first appearance in this his second spell at the club, Clifton controlled his shot neatly to find the corner of Rhys Taylor’s net as the Fylde defence failed to clear.
Substitute Lee Ndlovu’s fine run and shot deserved better and Dan Jones made a goal-saving tackle to deny Lowe before Fylde got a late third goal from Jordan Gough’s xxx minute own goal. Adam Walker’s fierce effort struck the late on bar but it was Fylde who took the points to strengthen their position as league leaders with a first away win in three attempts.