County travel to AFC Fylde on Saturday, looking to put last weekend’s defeat at Brackley behind them, and take one step closer to a Wembley Cup Final. Saturday’s encounter will be the first of our two-legged FA Trophy Semi-Final, the furthest County have ever progressed in this competition.
County will make the trip across to Lancashire on the back of our club record 23 game unbeaten run finally coming to an end at Brackley, and Jim Gannon and the team will be determined to put that defeat right, and start another unbeaten run as soon as possible.
Our opponents, however, come in to the game in fine form, having won eight of their last 12 games in all competitions, a run that has seem them rise to fourth in the National League, six points off top spot in the race for automatic promotion. They are currently managed by former County defender Dave Challinor, who played for the club between 2002-2004.
The Coasters also currently boast the best home record in the division, having picked up 42 points from 19 games thus far at Mill Farm, and will surely provide a stern test to County’s strong away form.
Fylde’s main dangerman will need no introduction to the County faithful, with former Hatter Danny Rowe netting his 25th league goal of the season on Tuesday night, making him the National League’s leading goal-scorer once again, having shared the title last season. Fylde also boast former County favourite Lewis Montrose amongst their ranks, although the midfielder has been absent through injury since January.
Since dropping in to non-league, we have come up against the Coasters on seven occasions, with our hosts having the upper hand, triumphing on three occasions, to County’s one, that win courtesy of a 94th minute winner from Jake Kirby back in 2015.
The Hatters, however, have made a habit this season of upsetting the apple-cart, having triumphed in three of our four cup ties against higher-league opposition, all of those victories coming away from home.
With a first appearance at Wembley since 2008 now a distinct possibility, Jim and the boys will be looking to put themselves in as strong a position as possible, going in to the second leg at what promises to be a rapturous Edgeley Park. The Blue and White Army have sold out their away allocation for Saturday’s game, ahead of what promises to be an enthralling cup-tie. Come on County!