AFC FYLDE 0 MARINE 0
Marine left Kellamergh Park with a point but it was far from deserved in a game marred by a poor referee.
Fylde dominated this Evo-Stik Northern Premier clash from start to finish but struggled to break down a very sturdy defence, and it was a case of chances wasted for the home side.
However, they remain second in the table behind Skelmersdale United, who inflicted a first defeat of the season on Fylde’s title rivals Chorley.
After Danny Lloyd was unlucky to see a yellow card winning the ball in a challenge with Joe Fowler, it took until the 80th minute for a deserved red to be shown as Lee Parle was rightly sent off for an awful two-footed foul on Dave Hankin, which resulted in the full back being substituted.
Former Fylde frontman Andy Fowler caused the most problems for the home defence and had the game’s first shot on goal on five minutes, when he smashed a rebound over the bar from close range after Ben Hinchliffe had parried Will Jones’ initial shot.
Harry Winter fired over for Fylde on nine minutes before man-of-the-match Hankin surged into the box from all of 60 yards only for Marine keeper Callum Williams to tip his shot around the post on 24 minutes.
He was at it again three minutes later as he shot wide following a fantastic move which saw the ball pass between six Fylde players.
Fylde were unlucky not to strike last in the first half as Winter headed wide, Caspar Hughes fired a free-kick over the bar from 20 yards and Lloyd had a shot deflected over.
The Coasters were even more dominant after the break but still, they could not find a way through the tight defence and get the ball into the back of Marine’s net.
Within five minutes of the restart, Lloyd and Michael Barnes sent a couple of crosses into the box which were too long for Winter and Blinkhorn respectively, then Marine’s Andy Fowler shot well over in a rare foray into the Fylde half.
Either side of the hour mark, Fylde came even closer to taking the lead when Lloyd hit the bar from a well worked corner by Caspar Hughes.
Joe Fowler pounced on a poor throw out from Hinchliffe four minutes later, only to shoot well over from 30 yards.
On 68 minutes, both Blinkhorn and Lloyd came agonisingly close to connecting with Hankin’s cross which flew across the face of the Marine goal, then four minutes later Blinkhorn shot narrowly wide from Barnes’ knockdown. The game became very scrappy in the final ten minutes, starting with Parle’s sending off.
Fylde boss Dave Challinor said: “I was disappointed in the way we wasted the first 45 minutes by not showing any urgency or playing at a high enough tempo.
“Although we had possession, we had it in our own half and I don’t think we moved it quickly enough or got into areas to hurt them enough.
“In the second half we got the ball into better areas and pressured a lot, and I think on another day we’d have won the game.
“I wouldn’t say that we had any glaring misses, but I felt we played a lot better in the second half and got some good balls into the box. I think it shows how important it is to start the game properly and try to get that first goal.”
The Coasters travel to Whitby Town on Saturday
Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin (Denson 84), Sumner, M. Hughes (C), Russell, C. Hughes, Dorney (Rainford 59), Winter, Blinkhorn, M. Barnes, Lloyd; Subs not used: Hare, Booth, Charnley.
AFC Blackpool survived a late scare to complete back-to-back wins in the North West Counties premier and climb into the top half of the table.
They were 3-0 up and cruising last night at home to bottom club Wigan Robin Park, who scored twice in the final five minutes.
Lloyd Balazs had opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break. An own goal doubled the lead on 50 minutes and Mitch Newsham sealed victory on 75.