Fylde rely on fine fellow to save day

HERO: Stringfellow
HERO: Stringfellow
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Radcliffe Borough 1, AFC Fylde 1

Fylde snatched a point at Stainton Park with a last-minute Micky Stringfellow header and they came so close to taking all three.

Fylde were forced to make one change from Saturday’s win at Garforth, with Matty Kay ruled out for several weeks with a broken wrist which was only diagnosed on Monday. Matt Mahoney stepped in after suspension.

Ricky Mercer was back on the bench after a miraculous recovery from a knee problem.

The Coasters were rocked after only ten minutes as Radcliffe took the lead out of nowhere with a screamer from full-back Alistair Brown.

He ran 20 yards unchallenged before giving keeper Lewis Edge no chance with a terrific 25-yard shot.

Fylde rallied but chances passed them by, with Kevin Townson and Joe Booth going closest in the first half.

Townson flashed a header inches wide of the upright from Michael Barnes’ surging run and cross.

Booth let fly from the edge of the box moments later as Borough failed to clear Paul Jarvis’ corner.

Radcliffe poured forward as half-time approached, and from Sherlock’s teasing corner in-form striker Ben Wharton was thwarted from close range by Edge.

Fylde threw everything into attack in the second period but found it hard to get behind Radcliffe’s defences.

Saturday’s matchwinner Tom Cahill had a goal disallowed for offside on the hour mark as Fylde gradually gained a foothold.

Further opportunities fell to Townson, who was denied by Culkin from close range, and Cahill, who blazed over when well placed.

Skipper Micky Stringfellow was then booked for a two-footed challenge and it was handbags at ten paces as frustration kicked in and referee Mr Marsden dished out seven yellow cards.

Radcliffe tried to catch the Coasters on the counter and Edge saved well to deny Wharton a second.

But Fylde’s attacking play was rewarded in the 90th minute, when Jarvis curled a dangerous ball into a crowded penalty area and skipper Stringfellow rose highest to head home.

Fylde had two great chances to grab all the points as the seconds ticked away.

First Matt Walwyn’s point-blank volley was superbly stopped by Culkin from another Jarvis cross, then fellow sub Andy Bell clipped the ball agonisingly wide with the last kick of the game.

However, a Fylde win would have been harsh on a home side who have improved since the appointment of manager Benny Phillips.

Fylde, who slipped a spot to fourth after the other top clubs in action last night all won, travel to fellow play-off chasers Curzon Ashton on a pivotal weekend which sees the top six all facing each other.

Manager Kelham O’Hanlon said: “ It was a frustrating night for us and when Stringy scored we’d have taken a point, but we missed two gilt-edged opportunities to snatch all three at the death.

“Saturday’s game at Curzon is massive for us now. We have to go there looking for a result to stay in contention.”

Fylde: Edge Lawlor Elderton Steel Stringfellow M Mahoney Booth Jarvis Cahill (Bell) Townson Barnes (Walwyn); not used: Stevenson Mercer D Mahoney