AFC Fylde’s hopes of a holiday weekend double in the Evo-Stik premier division were frustrated at Kendal yesterday.
The Coasters, bidding to build on Saturday’s first win in non-league’s third tier against North Ferriby, led after ten minutes at Kendal but were behind by half-time, the first 45 minutes ending in a mass brawl which saw a player from both sides dismissed.
And although Matty Hughes equalised early in the second half, a winner proved elusive for Dave Challinor’s side, despite James Dean, Michael Barnes and Adam Farrell all going close.
Fylde started brightly, with Barnes and Jimmy McCarthy causing problems on the wings, but it was a brilliant through-ball from Harry Winter which resulted in the opener.
The midfielder put Dean one-on-one with Kendal keeper Craig Dootson, the former Fleetwood Town stopper, only to be brought down by Marc Joseph in the box.
Booth stepped up and sent Dootson the wrong way from the penalty spot.
The home side eventually began to threaten and pulled level on 21 minutes, when Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe could only punch clear a free-kick as far as former Blackpool defender Joseph, who blasted it into the back of the net to level the scores.
It got worse for the visitors seven minutes later as Glenn Steel gave the ball away inside his own half.
Josh Kenworthy’s initial effort from the edge of the box struck a post but rebounded into the path of Alex Taylor, who comfortably fired past Hinchliffe to give Kendal an unexpected lead.
Barnes and Winter had chances to level towards the end of the half but the last opportunity fell to Kenworthy, who should have done better than fire into the side-netting after latching on to another stray Fylde pass and rounding Hinchliffe.
As the half-time whistle blew, a scuffle started in the centre of the park which involved most of the players from both sides.
It was only when the players came back out for the second period that it became clear Kendal’s Dootson and Fylde’s Winter had been shown red for their part in the brawl.
There were also yellows for scorer Joseph and Dean of Fylde. As the home side had no substitute keeper, defender Paul Alexander stepped in between the sticks.
Fylde got back into the game within minutes of the restart thanks to a Hughes finding himself in acres of space to head home Adam Sumner’s corner and equalise after 51 minutes.
Smelling a victory, Fylde began piling pressure on Kendal’s defence, and after 64 minutes Bradley Barnes played a great ball through to Dean who squeezed through two defenders but shot narrowly wide.
Frustration was setting in for the visitors as they failed to create any more clear-cut chances despite having the lion’s share of the possession.
Paul Jarvis and Michael Barnes tried their best to make surging runs into the Kendal box, but it wasn’t until Dean sent another effort just over the bar on 82 minutes that Fylde had a real sniff of goal.
Substitutes Jack Dorney and Farrell were brought on to try to create more space late on, and they had a chance each in the dying minutes before Phil Doughty came to Fylde’s rescue by clearing a low, searching cross across the line in stoppage time.
After the final whistle, Fylde assistant manager Colin Woodthorpe expressed his disappointment that his side couldn’t secure all three points, saying: “We bossed it really for up to 22 minutes and then tried to single-handedly throw the result away.
“In the second half, we should have gone on and won the game.
“I think the sendings off had a bigger bearing on them than us.
“If your goalkeeper goes off and you haven’t got one on the bench, it’s a chance you have to take.
“They were very much on the back foot and I think the longer we went without creating enough pressure to get crosses in the box or shots on target, they came back more into it.”
Fylde’s next game is at home to Whitby Town on Saturday, where both Challinor and Woodthorpe will be looking for a second win to improve their mid-table position.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Jarvis, Sumner, Hughes, Steel (Doughty 65), B. Barnes, Booth, Winter, Dean, M. Barnes (Dorney 82), McCarthy (Farrell 65); not used: Carden, McDonald.