Allen inspires cup comeback

AFC Fylde v AFC Blackpool. Marc Beattie (9) opens the scoring for AFC Blackpool with his header.

AFC Fylde v AFC Blackpool. Marc Beattie (9) opens the scoring for AFC Blackpool with his header.

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AFC Fylde 3, AFC Blackpool 2

FYLDE recovered from a 2-0 half-time deficit to win last night’s FA Cup preliminary round replay thanks to Michael Barnes’ stoppage time winner at Kellamergh Park.

A home side missing five regulars performed poorly in the first half against their North West Counties League visitors but a brace by Ritchie Allen paved the way for Barnes’ 91st-minute winner.

Blackpool had been the better side for much of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Common Edge and they outplayed their hosts in the first half last night, deservedly going two up thanks to goals from Marc Beattie and Mark Ashall ... and it could have been a lot worse for the Coasters.

After a slow start from both sides, Blackpool began to exert pressure and took the lead after 14 minutes. The ball was swung in from a corner on the right and it was Beattie who jumped highest to head home.

Fylde struggled to control the ball in midfield and a mistake from Ricky Mercer on the edge of his own area allowed Beattie to go one-on-one with keeper Danny McDonald only to shoot just wide on 23 minutes.

The first real opportuny for the home side came five minutes later, when Isaac Kusaloka, making his first start for the club, headed just wide, then Allen tried to lob oncoming keeper Andy Speight only to see his shot cleared off the line for a corner.

Eight minutes before the break, McDonald conceded a penalty in an aerial collision and Blackpool captain Ashall converted.

Right on half-time, Fylde’s Paul Jarvis had to get his foot in the way of a well-aimed cross which Grant Dell almost got on the end of as the visitors looked for a third.

The hairdryer treatment was certainly used by Coasters manager Kelham O’Hanlon at half-time as Fylde were a different side in the second half and began to show why they are a league above their visitors.

Chances came thick and fast and the breakthrough came ten minutes after the restart. Allen collected the ball 30 yards out and ran at the defence before firing past the diving Speight from the edge of the area.

Jarvis, Barnes, Kusaloka and Rob Wilson all had chances to equalise before Allen doubled his tally with a fantastic strike.

After excellent passing play by the home side, the ball reached Allen just inside the box and he dinked the ball over the defender before turning to fire home on 72 minutes.

The visitors looked to have nothing left in the tank and it was all Fylde. Five minutes from time, Speight pulled off a fantastic diving save to deny Allen a hat-trick. But Fylde completed their comeback in stoppage time, when a mis-hit back-pass enabled Barnes to nip in and tuck the ball home.

Fylde can now look forward to a highly anticipated home match with Chorley in the next round, a repeat of last season’s play-off final in Evo-Stik Division North.

But first they travel to Farsley on Saturday, bidding to extend their unbeaten start to the league campaign. Blackpool remain in cup mode this weekend, entertaining Darwen in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase.

CHRISTOPHER PARK

AFC Fylde: McDonald, Stringfellow, Jarvis, Mercer (McNiven 46), Steel, Kay, Booth, Wilson, Allen (Doughty 90+4), Kusaloka, Barnes; not used: Unsworth, Penswick, Lambeth.

AFC Blackpool: Speight, Carroll, Walker, Baker, Ford, Muscroft, Dell (Betteridge 70), Ashall, Beattie, Fawcett, Stayte; not used: Cummins, Vaughan.