NUNEATON 1 AFC FYLDE 1: Full report and reaction

Fylde scorer Danny Rowe

Fylde scorer Danny Rowe

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Fylde had to settle for a point against their promotion rivals despite controlling much of the match.

Fylde had to settle for a point against their promotion rivals despite controlling much of the match.

The game sparked into life in the 25th minute, when David Morgan was shown a straight red card for a wild lunge on Fylde’s Richie Baker, and Danny Rowe capitalised moments later with a near-post header.

However, the hosts came out after the break a revitalised side and drew level on 48 minutes through Elliott Whitehouse.

Coasters boss Dave Challinor made three changes to the side that lost to Alfreton Town on Saturday, with new signing Bohan Dixon coming in for Dion Charles, Caspar Hughes replacing Adam Sumner and Brad Barnes in for the suspended Sam Finley.

The game started very slowly as both sides struggled to retain possession. Midfielder Barnes let fly with a ferocious right-foot drive from 20 yards but it flew wide of Jordan Smith’s goal.

The hosts responded when Wes McDonald squared the ball for Whitehouse, who scuffed his effort from the edge of the box well over.

The game burst into life midway through the first half, when Nuneaton defender Morgan was shown a straight red card for a nasty foul on Baker. Fylde made their advantage count almost immediately, when Matty Hughes crossed from the right for Rowe to flick a header into the bottom left corner to the delight of the travelling fans.

There was almost a carbon copy moments later but this time Rowe was off-target with his header.

Dixon saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area and was involved again as Fylde almost doubled the lead on 37 minutes. The towering midfielder fed Lloyd on the left and he in turn crossed for the lurking Matty Hughes, but the ball was just out of winger’s reach.

Dixon then saw a fierce drive fly just over the bar in the last of the action of a first half which perhaps needed the dismissal to bring it to live.

Nuneaton flew out of the blocks in the second half and were level inside two minutes, when Whitehouse drilled the ball home from the edge of the box after being teed up by Tyrell Waite.

The hosts soon had a great chance to take the lead, when Cieran Keane stole the ball off Caspar Hughes on the right and raced down the line. He crossed for the unmarked Joe Ironside, who failed to get any real connection as the ball rolled wide.

Matty Hughes was replaced by Dion Charles on the hour mark and the youngster immediately looked dangerous.

Fylde dominated the last 25 minutes, creating several decent chances as substitute Matt Blinkhorn made a nuisance of himself.

Nuneaton’s Jordan Keane tried his luck with a fierce shot from 25 yards fired well over.

Blinkhorn had a great chance with five minutes to go, when he flicked a Caspar Hughes cross just wide of the left post, but the best opportunity to win it fell to James Hardy in added time.

The substitute controlled a high ball brilliantly six yards from goal but somehow fired over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Fylde boss Challinor admitted: “There’s no question it’s two points dropped. I think the only two positives to come out of the match were Rowey scoring another goal and Bohan Dixon’s performance.

“I thought he showed glimpses of real quality and potential. If we can get the right personnel around him, I’m sure he will be a very good player for us.

“We are in a difficult run of form and were given a big opportunity with the sending-off so early. We then go in front and we needed to finish them off. “We are playing like a team that looks low on confidence. We are trying to see out games when we need to put teams to the sword.

“Once we gave them something to hold on to, much like we against Alfreton it becomes difficult and we start to get a little bit desperate.

“Our decision-making in the final third has been a real concern of late and is costing us points.”

DANIEL AGNEW

Fylde: Urwin, C.Hughes, Crainey, Langley, Hannigan (C), Baker, M.Hughes (Charles 61), Barnes (Blinkhorn 55), Rowe, Dixon, Lloyd (Hardy 64)

Nuneaton: Smith, Clifton, Keane, Morgan, Keane, Rowe-Turner, Waite (Dawson 60), Byrne (C), Ironside, Whitehouse, McDonald (Lane 28)

Fylde signed 26-year-old midfielder Dixon from league rivals Stalybridge Celtic hours before last night’s match.

The 6ft4in powerhouse has signed a contract until the end of next season, with the option of a further 12months.

Dixon gained Football League experience with Accrington Stanley in 2012-13 before moving on to Lincoln City. He spent last season with Northwich Victoria and Salford City.