Alternative Match Preview – AFC Fylde

Tuesday night see’s us take on non-league’s most popular side AFC Fylde, fresh of a 1-1 draw with Gillingham in the FA Cup first round on Saturday in front of only 836 homes fans… which is pretty shite for a 1st round game. Then again with all the bollocks surrounding former manager James Rowe (google it if you don’t know), the rather discriminatory job advert that came out last year and a whole wrath of other controversy’s, it’s no wonder they’re often met with ridicule in the local non-league scene. If you’re interested to know a bit more about the club and owner David Haythornthwaite’s questionable past, I’d highly recommend HITC Sevens YouTube video titled ‘AFC Fylde: The Most Hated Team In Non-League Football’ –

Sadly (for Fylde) they’ve had a bit of a shitter this season. Currently lying 9th in the table and having lost manager James Rowe when he was charged with sexual assault (where it took Fylde a day and a half and 3 club statements to remove him) and replaced with Andy Taylor, a Blackburn native who played over 300 games in the Football League before joining Fylde’s coaching staff in 2020 when he retired. Fylde go into to Tuesday with 1 win in just 5 league games, that coming in a 1-0 win against Peterborough Sports last week following some poor results away at Leamington and Hereford. Having said that, they’ve only dropped points 5 points in 8 games at Mill Farm this season so they’ll be tough to beat.

The Lancashire side have a rich amount of talent in their team thanks to the Chairman’s deep pockets. In goal they’re anchored by Chris Neal, who’s played near 200 games in the Football League and is well regarded across the league. In defence it could be argued the main man is Newcastle born Alex Whitmore. The centre back has been a rock at the back for Fylde since 2019 and the tall and dominant defender is now the clubs captain.

In the spring of 2022 Darlington club captain Will Hatfield would join the Seasiders after Fylde triggered his release clause and offered him a deal he simply couldn’t turn down. He’s done well in his time at Fylde but hasn’t been able to unseat Nick Haughton as the clubs main man in midfield. The former Fleetwood man is arguably Flyde’s best player as he enters his prime, notching 10 goals this season already after scoring 26 last season.

In late August, club legend Danny Rowe returned on loan from Chesterfield. Danny arrives back at Mill Farm as the Coasters’ all-time leading goalscorer, claiming numerous player of the year and golden boot awards in his previous spell, scoring 189 goals in 290 games. Now 33, he’s likely be on the decline but he’ll still be considered one of the best strikers in the league. Ashington born Mark Cullen striker is still out with an ACL injury, but recently they purchased former Newcastle United youth prospect Luke Charman from Rochdale. The striker had linked up with Darlington, scoring 13 goals in 19 games last season before Rochdale snapped him up for a reported £40,000. He would only score 2 goals in 20 appearances at Spotland before Fylde swooped in paying a club record fee.

As for Spartans, we go into the game with no new injuries for a change! Following our resounding 3-0 win over AFC Telford on Saturday it’s guess work as to who out of the injured lads may return for Tuesday night. McNall will of course still be out for a while longer, but no word on how the likes of Liddle, Gillies or Barlow are progressing. It’s possible JJ could return if his injury is cleared up but I’ve still no idea on Jordan Hickey’s availability. Midfielder Liam Ravenhill should still be available as his loan doesn’t expire until 14 November as far as we know.

Here’s hoping the Redcar Jesus and Blyth’s answer to Matt Le Blanc can lead us to victory once again!

As for Mill Farm, it doesn’t have much going for it. Flanked by a Burger King, Greggs and a KFC it has a worryingly small amount of pubs within walking distance. The nearest being the Lane Ends which is supposed to be a 10 minute walk away from the ground, so bollocks to that.

Thankfully the Bradleys Sports Bar at the ground seems to be well regarded and allows away fans. With a wide variety of bait and lager available, we’ll likely land early doors to sample a few beers. So if you’re making the trip down, hope to see you there!

Tickets can be purchased here, obviously make sure you select the away stand though it should be noted segregation is not in place so in theory we should be free to move behind either goal.

Adult  – £12.00 

Young Guns (16-20) £7.00 

Junior (12 to 15) – £6.00 

Under 12’s Nout