Coasters go three clear at the top

Rowe - on target for Fylde
Rowe - on target for Fylde
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AFC Fylde survived a late-late show from second placed Barrow to hold on to a slender 2-1 lead to go three points clear of the Bluebirds at the top of the Vanarama Conference North with a game in hand.

Furness-born Liam Tomsett struck an early goal for the visitors and it was former Barrow loanee Danny Rowe who headed Fylde into a 2-0 lead with 19 minutes remaining.

But when Paddy Lacey volleyed one back for Barrow it was a tense final 12 minutes but the Coasters held out to end Barrow’s unbeaten home league for this season.

Fylde started the game playing into the driving wind and rain and Barrow took advantage beginning the better of the sides. Danny Livesey volleyed over a half chance from Johnny

Gorman’s deep cross five minutes in before a long range effort from Jason Walker landed on the roof of Fylde’s net two minutes later.A controversial decision from Fylde’s perspective soon followed when Danny Lloyd went down

in the box under a challenge from Andy Burns and after a long look referee Mr Johnson deemed Lloyd went down too easily and booked him for diving.

But four minutes later the visitors took the lead when Burns misjudged the bounce of the ball, allowing Lloyd in to play a great through-ball to Tomsett and he was able to shoot through Tony McMillan’s legs and into the net.

Another half-chance fell for Gorman himself on 18 minutes when Andy Cook’s free kick was deflected into his path but he could only shoot tamely wide.

The home side enjoyed another spell around the half hour mark which saw Cook denied by Ben Hinchliffe before the ball was in the back of Fylde’s net, however the goal was disallowed after

Simon Grand was adjudged to have handled the ball over the line.

Cook then shot wide for Barrow before Walker headed Gorman’s cross over the Fylde bar either side of another chance for Fylde’s goal scorer Tomsett which he sent wide.

The second half started at a slower pace and it was Barrow who were enjoying the early possession but couldn’t break down a solid Fylde side.

The first clear chance of the half fell for Fylde full-back Adam Sumner on 65 minutes who raced through from half way but his low shot was saved by Tony McMillan.

Two minutes later a golden chance fell to the visitors as Rowe beat Lacey to the ball 25 yards out and he allowed Lloyd to take charge of the attack, surge into the box but send his shot over the bar with Richie Allen in space to his right.

But Fylde’s second goal arrived on 71 minutes when a deep cross by Allen into the six yard box found Rowe who was able to jump higher than his marker and diver the ball past McMillan and into the goal.

That second goal conceded rejuvenated the home side however and Barrow surged forward in search of a response and they got it seven minutes later through a Lacey half-volley – Walker’s initial free kick hit the wall but his return ball into the box found Lacey who miss-hit his first attempt but made no mistake with the second firing into the bottom left corner from 15 yards.

The real pressure began with 87 minutes on the clock when substitute Sam Sheridan sent a free kick into Ben Hinchliffe’s arms however a guilt-edged chance to secure the win fell to Allen seconds later.

A poor back pass allowed Allen to race in and steal the ball ahead of McMillan and with the goal at his mercy he sent his left-footed shot inches wide which would have made the score 3-1.

Then deep into stoppage time another free kick forced a fantastic saved from Hinchliffe before Lacey headed the resulting corner over the bar.

The result means Fylde lead the Conference North by three points after an excellent Christmas period which saw them take all six points from Barrow and now have a game in hand over the Cumbrian side.