Opposition Insight | AFC Fylde

By Ryan Brookes

The Minstermen are back in action this Saturday after thirteen days away, with AFC Fylde the visitors to the LNER Community Stadium.

While York City have had an extended period away from competitive action, Fylde too suffered a midweek postponement, but had involvement in last weekend’s FA Trophy Fourth Round, beaten by the solitary goal away at lower-league Aveley.

Prior to that elimination though, the Coasters had won two on the bounce in the National League, tallying home wins over Hartlepool and Rochdale.

But their recent form far from reflects the entire season so far, struggling down in 22nd on their returning campaign, following promotion from the National League North last term.

League-winning boss Adam Murray was relieved of his duties back in October with the Blackpool-based side sitting bottom of the pile, and Chris Beech has since been in charge, as Fylde look to turn their fortunes around.

Still, a vast improvement is required for the Coasters to clinch safety come April. They will be aiming for a third straight league win this Saturday, when they make the trip over to North Yorkshire.

Manager: Chris Beech

A midfielder back in the day, Chris Beech began his senior playing career not too far away from his current workplace – Blackpool FC in 1993.

He made close to a century of appearances for his hometown club, before a successful stint at Hartlepool United, plus other spells at Huddersfield and Rochdale prior to retiring in 2004 and making the transition to full-time coaching.

Beech held off-the-pitch roles at Bury and Rochdale, before he was made caretaker manager at the latter for a short period of time, his first managerial experience.

He held the position of assistant manager at Dale from 2013-2019, one of the most successful times for the club, then left to be Carlisle United boss for a couple of years, with the Covid pandemic very much hindering what could have been a very triumphant period for him and the club.

The 49-year-old had been out of work for almost a year until appointed Director of Football at AFC Fylde in December 2022, and he was promoted to the manager role following Adam Murray’s departure last year.

Beech has for sure turned the Coasters’ form around since then, putting Oldham and Gateshead to the sword respectively with 3-0 and 4-0 victories, plus of course the two recent home wins in 2024.

Top Scorer: Nick Haughton

A man who played one of the most crucial parts in Fylde’s National League North win in 2022/23, Nick Haughton managed 26 goals in 42 games to guide the Coasters to promotion.

This season maybe hasn’t hit the same heights, but the 29-year-old is still considered as one of the best midfielders in the division.

His goal against Hartlepool a couple of weeks back put him on seven for the season and it is almost guaranteed that there will be many more to come yet.

Fylde’s number ten has also weighed in with five assists to help out in his side’s survival hopes, and he will be looking to add to his tally this weekend.

Head-to-Head

Saturday’s fixture will be only the fifth meeting between the two sides, and it is York City who have the edge on head-to-head.

A game that occurred behind closed doors during the cancelled 2020/21 National League North season, Fylde sealed a 3-1 win in the first-ever match at the LNER Community Stadium.

City would have to wait until the following season to look for revenge, and they got exactly that, completing the league double over the Coasters, Lenell John-Lewis and Mitch Hancox each grabbing a goal in both games.

We travelled to Mill Farm back in November 2023, and secured yet another victory over Fylde, this time Scott Burgess and Ryan Fallowfield on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win.