Bebington 1XI 2-2 Fylde 1XI
North Hockey League Division 3
Fylde opened up their first ever North League campaign with a hard-fought point away at Bebington.
Matt Atkinson and Josh Payne earned their full 1st team debuts and new coach Nick Sutcliffe was overseeing his first game in charge.
Fylde started the brighter and dominated first half possession on what was a slow pitch in the Wirral. Defender Rob Jepson opened the scoring, winning the ball on the half way line and a smart one-two with Jordan Payne before slotting his finish under the keeper. Fylde lost their heads at the end of the half and lost both Ian Swaine and Josh Payne, inviting on some sustained pressure but held on to lead 1-0 at the break.
Fylde found themselves with 8 players at the start of the half after two players found themselves carded in the break. Fylde’s resolute defence held firm though, including a triple-save from keeper Nigel Sadler. Bebington eventually grabbed a bizarre equaliser when a lifted pass into the D deflected off Swaine and into the goal. First the goal was given, then a penalty stroke, which was cooly converted.
This fired up Fylde, who started to create chances, James Oakes and both Payne brothers coming close. With 10 to go, they finally regained the lead. Captain Simon Major found Jordan Payne with a long upfield pass, who unselfishly slipped the ball to Simon Thomas to fire into the empty net. However Bebington reacted, and with five minutes to go equalised again through a penalty corner. FT 2-2
Disappointed with only a point, but Fylde had their chances. They host Welsh side Clwb Erias at Mill Farm next Saturday.
Fylde 2XI 4-0 South Lakes 1XI
North West Hockey League Division 2 North
The second team got their season off to a winning start against a weakened South Lakes side. Early Fylde pressure resulted in a great strike hitting the roof of the net from Phil Hope early in the first half. A quick second from Hope from a nice move around the back transferring play to stretch the opposition meant the home team went in at 2-0 up at the break.
As the heat of the afternoon intensified it was the fitness of Fylde's younger squad members that paid dividends. A scrappy short corner gave Alex Brandwood his first of the season, before Hope finished off the afternoon with a hat-trick. A somewhat easy start to the season but a winning one none the less.
Fylde 3XI 0-4 Golborne 2XI
North West Hockey League Division 3 North
Fylde 3s didn't get off to the start they wanted with a 0-4 loss to Golbourne 2s. The first half showed some terrific plays from Fylde as they attempted to pile on the pressure early on and dominate from the off. Unfortunately it was Golbourne's solid defending that kept Fylde from converting their chances and ultimately, was also the reason the reason for Fylde conceding 3 goals in the first half from impressive Golbourne counter attacks. A refresh at half time saw Fylde tactics change and as a result, a stronger performance. It wasn't to be for Fylde, despite an impressive effort both offensively and defensively. Man of the match Kris Brandwood was the biggest influence on the field, giving Fylde the juice they needed to play right to the final whistle.
Keswick 3XI 4-4 Fylde 4XI
North West Hockey League Division 4 North North
Fylde's bottom team scraped together a team of just 10 for the furthest away game of the season (220 mile round trip) on the hottest day of the summer in Cumbria (or so we were told) for the first game of the league season.
Expectations weren't high, but Fylde had a multitude of experienced (& old) defensive players so holding on for a 0-0 result was the target. A 4-4-1 formation was deployed, with the lone youngster Dan Howe upfront, newcomer Richard Clarke (freshly signed from Morecambe) on the right of midfield, and returning Andy Banks on the left, and Phil Weir and Sean Lester in the middle.
Fylde started strongly passing the ball about, but it was Keswick who scored first with a short corner shot that eluded Craig Nutter's kicking save. However it wasn't long before the equaliser from a well composed spin and strike from Dan Howe.
As the first half continued, Fylde's old men started to tire in the blazing Cumbrian sun, and the combination of being one man short and no substitutes began to tell, enabling Keswick to attack more regularly. They scored from another short corner, and then went 3-1 up from a superb strike from a tight angle which whipped into the top of the net with no chance of saving.
Fylde took shelter from the sun during the half-time break, drenched their parched mouths with water, and came out refreshed. What a difference it made, with three goals in the space of ten minutes to take a surprise 4-3 lead. Dan Howe scored two more for his hat-trick, with some great dribbling and composure when shooting in the D, and Sean Lester scored the other with a great shot from the top of the D when under pressure.
Fylde's lead was short lived, as they lost composure, allowed Keswick to attack down the flank and along the back-line, before the ball was pulled back and they managed to bundle the ball into the goal following a goalmouth scramble.
Fylde tried to conserve their energy and play conservatively for the remainder of the half, and somehow managed to hold on for the draw much to the delight of captain Craig Nutter. A fine start of season performance.