Fylde 2-0 FC Halifax Town

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Jamie Fullarton suffered his first defeat as FC Halifax Town manager as The Shaymen lost 2-0 at Fylde.

Fullarton had insisted that Fylde - the National League’s highest scorers with 71 goals - held no fears for him, and his side played with the confidence of a team imbued with that attitude in an even first-half.

But a Halifax side offering little in attack had no answer once the breakthrough came, first from Johnny Smith and then James Hardy, with Fylde always carrying more of a threat going forward.

Town’s fate this season won’t rest on this result; Monday’s clash with Gateshead should have more of a say, although The Shaymen will need to up their game having failed to register a single shot on target in a game to be filed under ‘forget it and move on’.

Michael Duckworth returned from injury at right-back, but Town’s injury-ravaged season continued as Matty Kosylo had to be carried off the pitch after only 11 minutes.

That was after a lively start had seen Connor Thomson shoot just wide and former Town man Jack Muldoon hit the post for the home side.

But Fylde were given little encouragement that they could add to their 13 goals in their last three home outings, as Town enjoyed their fair share of possession.

Michael Collins was his usual effective presence in midfield, always available for a pass and rarely conceding the ball.

Fylde dangerman Danny Rowe was shown all the respect due of the National League’s top-scorer, and had few chances as a result of Town’s tight marking, with full debutant Sam Graham particularly strong and diligent.

Rowe did find a rare yard of space in the box half-an-hour in, but Matty Brown got back with a superb tackle.

The best Fylde could muster in the rest of the opening half was a dipping 25-yard shot by Hardy that Sam Johnson plucked out of the air and Luke Burke’s curling shot wide from a similar distance.

And Halifax could count themselves unfortunate to go behind just after the restart when Smith’s low cross from the left went through a crowded box and nestled in the far corner. Best laid plans and all that.

Soon afterwards, Matty Brown’s header dropped to Hardy 25 yards out, and he had time to take a touch before his low shot beat Johnson into the far corner.

The fact that Fullarton chose to replace Mike Fondop-Talom with Shaun Tuton after an hour and not pair them together said much about the former’s ineffectiveness, with Town needing a spark from somewhere in Kosylo’s absence.

But it never arrived, with Fylde close to going further ahead when Muldoon headed against the bar with 20 minutes remaining.

Fylde felt comfortable enough to take off Rowe after 83 minutes, with Tuton making no more of an impact up-front than the man he’d replaced as Town succumbed to defeat with a whimper.

Fylde: Lynch, Montrose, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol (Taylor 77), Hardy (Tasdemir 77), Bond, Smith, Burke, Muldoon, Rowe (Jones 83). Subs not used: Blinkhorn, Lawlor.

Scorers: Smith (47), Hardy (54)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 6

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Brown, Graham, McManus, Thomson, Collins, Hibbs, Kosylo (Hibbs 11), Tomlinson, Fondop-Talom (Tuton 62). Subs not used: Nicholson, Moyo, Maher.

Shots on target: 0

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 4

Attendance: 2,313

Referee: Karl Evans

Town man of the match: Michael Collins