Salford City travel to unbeaten AFC Fylde on Tuesday night in search of a first win on the road in 2018-19.
A 0-0 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge extended our unbeaten run to five games though, while Dave Challinor’s Coasters are eight games unbeaten (W4 D4).
The Mill Farm outfit, formerly named Kirkham & Wesham, have made a strong start to their second season in the National League, having finished last season in the play-offs where they were beaten away at finalists Boreham Wood in the quarter-finals.
Five promotions in 11 seasons have put Fylde on the verge of the Football League, where they aim to be in 2022 (and hence the number appearing on their shirt sleeves). They started off with back-to-back promotions through the North West Counties Football League in 2007-08 (as Kirkham & Wesham) and 2008-09. After a couple of seasons in the Northern Premier League Division One North, they secured promotion to the NPL in 2011-12 as Champions, with Challinor being appointed in November 2011; a 1-0 win against Salford won them the title.
They spent just two seasons in the NPL before winning the play-offs in 2013-14, and despite suffering play-off heart break twice in the National League North the club stuck by Challinor and he led them to the National League North title in 2016-17.
With no defeats in eight games, some might be scratching their heads at how Fylde are third, but one point off Wrexham at the top and an unbeaten record is nothing to scoff at for Coasters fans. Certainly Mill Farm has played its part with three of Fylde’s four wins coming on home turf compared to one win and three draws on the road, and again Danny Rowe is the focal point as he leads the division’s goalscoring chart with seven goals in eight (one more than Adam Rooney).
That first win on the road came away at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday when Rowe hit a brace, including a spectacular goal from the goal-line on the left-hand side and outside of the box. Scoring three goals was a vitalising lift for Challinor’s side after back-to-back 0-0 draws against Harrogate Town and away at Sutton United. Town were the first side to keep a clean sheet at Mill Farm since February, and it was only the third time Fylde have failed to score at home in The National League
Danger Man – Danny Rowe
When a team has a striker with the amount of goals that Rowe has, it’s hard not to identify him as the danger man. As above, he is the league’s top marksman this season with seven goals in eight (albeit two from the penalty spot) which is nearly a third of the way to his final tally of 24 last season, which was joint top.
In 2016-17 he scored an astonishing 47 goals in the National League North, including an equaliser against Salford in the 3-3 draw at Mill Farm on our last visit. Capable of scoring a range of goals, he is sure to keep the defence on their toes.
The most recent meeting between the sides was something of a treat for Ammies fans as we racked up a 5-0 win at Moor Lane in February 2017 to close the gap on the league leaders. Jordan Hulme scored a hat-trick with Billy Priestley and Mike Phenix scoring the other two.
Hulme and Phenix were also on the scoresheet at Fylde in August 2016, with Nottingham scoring the other for Salford in a 3-3 draw. Sam Finley opened the scoring for Fylde before Hulme equalised in the first half. Nottingham gave Salford the lead with a header before Rowe’s strike from 30 yards brought the hosts back level. Phenix scored on the break in the final few minutes, only for Steve Williams to equalise deep into stoppage time.
In nine previous meetings, Salford lead the way with five wins to Fylde’s three, and August 2016 was the only draw.
Fylde’s number one was formerly Salford’s number one for the majority of three seasons, winning two promotions with the club. After leaving Moor Lane in 2017, Salford-born Jay linked up with The Coasters and last season went on to establish himself as Challinor’s first choice.
Spent three years at Fylde from 2013-16, and played a significant part in their promotion from the Northern Premier League in 2013-14 after finishing as the joint-top goal scorer. He stayed at Fylde for the next couple of seasons in the National League North before moving to Stockport County in 2016. The former fan favourite will be unavailable for the trip to Mill Farm though after his red card at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Spent pre-season with The Ammies before moving to Fylde prior to the start of the season.