AFC Fylde 3 Halifax Town 2. (27/8/16)
The journey to here was relatively straightforward. A69 to Carlisle, down the M6, take the Blackpool turnoff and its 6 miles on the left before the bright lights of the former mentioned sea side resort.
It has been an incredible rise for AFC Fylde over the past few years. In fact only 9 years ago they were playing in the West Lancashire league. At that time they were known as Kirkham and Wesham and they won the FA Vase in 2008. The club was only formed in 1988 and they played at Coronation Park before moving to Kellamergh Park in 2006. A rapid move through the pyramid system now brings them to the Conference North. The club appears to have a lot of drive, ambition and money as they have now moved into a £18 million pound Football league standard ground. The complex there also includes a supermarket, distribution centre, petrol station, restraint, sports pitches and sports sciences facilities.
What amazes me more is that Kirkham is a small Town only approx 7 miles from Preston and Blackpool with Fleetwood only just a few more miles North of Kirkham. Talk about the North East of England being a hotbed of football- what about West Lancashire!
The Coasters play at Mill Farm and it does look just about like a Football league set up. It has a nice curved main stand which covers the whole length of the pitch with a terrace opposite also down the complete side. Behind one goal is a covered terrace and at the other end it’s just hard standing. However you know that in the future another terrace could be built at this spot in due course.
Today’s clash was a mouth-watering top of the table clash and a good game it was to watch. AFC Fylde were playing FC Halifax in a first v second placed game. There was a really large contingent of Halifax fans who had travelled today. Halifax seemed to dominate the early stages of the game. Eventually Denton scored for the visitors on 30 minutes but that lead was to be short lived. Hughes equalised for the home side just two minutes later to send the teams in level at half time. Shortly after the break AFC Fylde went ahead on 52 minutes due to an own goal by Hone. Halifax pressed forward for the equaliser in what was becoming a quite entertaining game. Twenty minutes later Hone made up for the own goal by putting Halifax back on level terms. The visitors started looking good again for a point at least when a goal from Dixon on 79 minutes gave the Coaster all three points.
There was no segregation at this game and half the Halifax fans walked around to their attacking end. Half stayed where they were. The AFC Fylde fans seemed to stay where they were, half way down the terrace opposite the main stand. Near the end of the game a saw three Halifax fans walk down past us to go past the home fans. They were young lads with one carrying beer and a Stone island yellow transparent waterproof jacket which has to be the most bizarre ‘Hoolie’ fashion accessory I have seen at a game. Very quickly a few words were exchanged before the beer went flying and a few handbags thrown. The stewards and home officials were quick to separate fans while a few more Halifax were quick to rush down and join in to be part of the fray. Tensions were a bit high at the end of the game and as we were leaving the ground a Police car was flying up the road to the stadium to sort whatever was happening out.
Just wondering how far they will be managing this situation from now on or will they have to segregate matches eventually? The above paragraph seems to be the price of progress. Sad really to see in what was really a pulsating match.