AFC FYLDE’S debut appearance in the FA Cup first round was always going to be a memorable occasion, but the Evo-Stik Premier Division side hadn’t anticipated it being a day for Will Hatfield to note down in his diary.
The Stanley midfielder scor-ed all four goals as his side booked their place in round two and avoided an upset at Kellamergh Park.
There were 67 league places between the sides ahead of the game but, with new manager Leam Richardson warning his players to avoid complacency, the Reds showed their hosts the respect they were due with an unchanged starting 11 from the one that had defeated Bristol Rovers a week before.
And it was the league side who started better with Fylde perhaps afflicted by some big game nerves.
The home team did have their moments in the opening exchanges, though, and Michael Barnes was a threat to the Stanley defence. But Fylde lacked killer instinct.
The same could not be said for Richardson’s men, with Peter Murphy heading George Miller’s cross on to the roof of the net.
Just past the half hour mark the Reds broke the deadlock thanks to Hatfield’s first of the season. Lee Molyneux crossed to the near post, where Hatfield converted with a flying header to make it 1-0.
Hatfield then doubled Stanley’s advantage on the stroke of half time. This time Padraig Amond was the provider as he found space down the right and played a low ball into the area that was unconvincingly cleared.
Hatfield reacted quickest to slide the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box and give Stanley breathing space.
A triple Fylde change at half time gave them more impetus but the two-goal cushion allowed Stanley to exploit any space they were given. Ian Dunbavin saved from Paul Jarvis but Richardson’s team were comfortable and that was reinforced 13 minutes from time.
Amond’s cross was headed goalwards by Murphy and cleared off the line by Fylde but Hatfield was there again to finish emph-atically from close range and complete his first career hat-trick.
And better was to come for the 21-year-old who added number four in the dying stages. This time it was all the number 10’s own work as he latched on to sub Jack Sampson’s flick-on to get a shot away from the edge of the box. Home goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe kept that one out but the rebound fell to Hatfield, who picked out the bottom right corner with his left foot to complete a remarkable day.
The last word was to be AFC Fylde’s though. There was just a minute left when Richie Allen crossed from the right, Jarvis knocked the ball back in and Adam Farrell tapped in from close range.
n Stanley are at home to Oxford United in the second round.