|At Kellamergh Park, Warton, AFC Fylde needed a win against New Mills FC to take the North West Counties league Division 1 title. Could they get it?|
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This time last Saturday young James and I undertook the long trip to Stoneclough FC in Bolton to watch Blackpool Wren Rovers FC in the West Lancs Premier Division. Wren's needed to win in order to keep their title hopes alive but it wasn't to be as a 1-1 draw meant that they had to settle for a creditable runners up spot.
Today, Kellarmergh Park, Warton was the venue to watch AFC Fylde host rivals New Mills FC in the North West Counties league Division 1 title decider. AFC Fylde had topped the league for most of the season but in the last six weeks or so New Mills had put together a fantastic unbeaten run of twenty odd matches. Victories both at home and on the road, on Saturdays and in midweek, had left them three points clear at start of play. AFC Fylde's superior goal difference meant that a win would be enough to crown them champions.
Driving to the game we felt like turning around and going back home as the weather was horrendous with horizontal rain and gale force winds but that was never really an option. We were met by a very big crowd on arrival and took comfort that most people were as soaked and cold as we were as we tried to find what little shelter there was around the ground. Fortunately for all as kick off time approached it stopped raining and blue skies could be seen over the sea – patience.
The teams come out (AFC Fylde in the white)
The 'chosen ones' take shelter in the stand – they were envious when the sun finally came out.
A good early chance from Fylde as Richie Allen fired across goal.
A half-hearted shout for an AFC Fylde penalty – not given.
The New Mills FC bench and management team.
The AFC Fylde wall stands firm against a free kick.
The sun's out – time to dry off.
Dougie Shaw on the ball for AFC Fylde.
A great take under the bar by AFC Fylde keeper Nathan Worrell.
Just before the break AFC Fylde threaten – the keeper is on guard.
But the persistence of Allen's trickery on the wing resulted in a driven cross that was slotted home first time by full back Alan Jackson. 1-0.
Mickey Horsfall celebrates the opener.
A fantastic chance for New Mills to equalise just before the break but heads are in hands as the chance is spurned.
Half time score : AFC Fylde 1 – 0 New Mills FC
Quilligans FC fresh from their empahtic Gledhill Cup win show support for AFC Fylde behind the dugout.
MF – Micky Fuller – AFC Fylde manager hoping for a second goal.
Not long into the second half Fuller was rewarded with the all important second goal. Great work from the Horse on the right wing took him past his man on the inside and his shot/cross was adjudged to have been handled in the area – penalty !!
Joe Booth retains his composure to slot home the penalty into the bottom corner. Good effort from the keeper but not quite good enough.
A young AFC Fylde fan watches on a little nervously.
Another good AFC Fylde chance but Mark Wane cannot convert the opportunity.
The Horse is replaced – he's done his job.
More wing wizadry from Allen resulted in another excellent opportunity for Fylde but after his unselfish ball across the box is struck toward goal the New Mill's keeper makes a top draw save with his foot to keep the home side at bay.
It wasn't long though until AFC Fylde killed off the visitors with the all important third. This time Allen's great wingplay was rewarded with a clinical shot past the Miller's keeper by Glenn Steele. 3-0.
Dejected – you've beat the rest but you couldn't beat the best.
Matching nail polish.
4-0 !!! Another great surge from AFC Fylde this time down the left results in a neat pass inside for Joe Booth who guides it into the far corner – it's a rout.
Into additional time and a day to forget for the New Mills' keeper is compounded by a terrible error as he completely misjudged a pass back. The ball bounced over his foot and in the above picture the opportunity is greedily devoured by Matt Walwyn for a famous fifth.
The Kirkham 'tuffs' in the beer tent go wild.
Thompson, Palmer and Shaw. “We are going up I say we are going up”.
The final whistle goes and the celebrations begin.
Final score: AFC Fylde 5 – 0 New Mills FC.
The final whistle goes and AFC Fylde are Champions. A record 1,217 supporters exceeded even the Needham Market FC FA Vase gate despite the the pre match weather. Another memorable season that brought new highs. The best of luck to AFC Fylde in the Unibond next season – With Fleetwood's good progress local football is certainly on the up across the Fylde. We will be back to Kellamergh Park.