Fylde out of Woods

Nathan Neequaye for Woodley and Mike Barnes for Fylde
Nathan Neequaye for Woodley and Mike Barnes for Fylde
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AFC Fylde 3 Woodley Sports 2

AFC Fylde staged a thrilling second-half comeback after falling behind to two goals in five minutes at Kellamergh Park.

In a frustrating first half for the Evo-Stik First Division North title chasers, Tom Cahill squandered their best opportunities from close range.

Woodley set their stall out defensively in a drab and goalless first 45 minutes.

The game burst into life two minutes after the restart, when Micky Stringfellow’s back pass sold keeper Dave Stevenson short and Nathan Naqueye nipped in to tap home.

The lead was soon doubled when a dangerous cross was headed in off a post by Sam Walker.

Woodley then had a penalty shout waved away, which proved a defining moment as Fylde were jolted into action.

The comeback began on 58 minutes, when Paul Jarvis showed his credentials on his home debut by converting Andy Bell’s defence-splitting pass.

The confidence flooded back into Fylde side and the next attack saw John Hills roll back the years with a great run and cross, which Bell headed inches over.

Coasters winger Michael Barnes then switched sides and gave defender Ashley Crank a torrid time with his surging runs.

Woodley resorted to doubling up on the influential wingman in defence but still Barnes sprinted clear down down the right and exchanged passes with Matt Kay before cutting inside to fire Fylde level in a crowded penalty area with 20 minutes to go.

Woodley hit back on the break and the impressive Nequaye went close to restoring their lead but Jarvis was now the driving force for the home side.

He created another goal threat which resulted in Cahill and the Woodley keeper both colliding with an upright, while Fylde claimed in vain that the ball had crossed the line.

The winner arrived nine minutes from time, the result of another blistering burst by Barnes down the right.

His hard, low cross into the six-yard box cannoned into the net off defender Mark Haslam.

Substitute Matt Walwyn, on for the hard-grafting Cahill, then missed a couple of glaring chances to put the game beyond Woodley but Fylde had shown great character to fight back.

As Fylde prepare to visit Bamber Bridge tomorrow for the first of two successive Tuesday games against their derby rivals, it’s as you were at the top of the table after leaders (by six points) Chester and third-placed Chorley both won emphatically.

A relieved Fylde boss Kelham O’Hanlon said: “Woodley came with a game plan to stop us playing and they proved difficult to break down. We conceded two poor goals, so to come back to win was a fabulous result.”

Fylde: Stevenson, Lawlor, Hills, Doughty, Stringfellow, Kay, Booth, Jarvis, Cahill (Walwyn) Bell, Barnes Subs not used: Mahoney, Edge, Elderton, Steel.