Rushall Olympic 2 AFC Fylde 2

Harry Winter
Harry Winter
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Fylde stretched their unbeaten run to 19 games but were denied victory by a late goal in each half by Ahmed Obeng.

A piece of Richie Allen magic and a Harry Winter goal twice gave the Coasters the lead in Walsall, despite Joe Booth’s missed penalty, only for Obeng to snatch a point four minutes from time.

Luke Denson then went off with a serious knee injury, forcing Fylde to play out the eight minutes of injury time with 10 men, having used all their substitutes.

The home side should have had the lead inside seven minutes but Ben Hinchliffe pulled off a fine double save to deny Obeng then Stan Mugisha from point-blank range.

Despite Rushall’s early dominance they created little else and it was Allen who opened the scoring with a superb lob from outside the box on 17 minutes, having cut across field from the right.

Jamie Spencer headed over for the hosts four minutes later, then Obeng scored on the rebound on 36 minutes, after his initial shot was blocked.

The Pics had a great chance to go into the break with the lead when Mugisha played a great one-two with Spencer but his shot from a tight angle hit the side-netting.

Mike Barnes and Booth replaced Danny Lloyd and Sean Cooke for the second half but Spencer missed two gilt-edged chances to put Rushall in front. Twice he headed wide from corners before Carl Palmer sent a looping shot narrowly wide from 30 yards.

The penalty arrived on 67 minutes, when Jimmy Turner was adjudged to have fouled Matty Blinkhorn, but Chris Gemmell turned Booth’s spot-kick out for a corner.

The Coasters weren’t rattled and regained the lead four minutes later, when Barnes’s sublime crossfield ball found Allen free in the box. Gemmell couldn’t hold his shot and Winter netted the rebound.

This was by far Fylde’s best spell as Allen and Blinkhorn missed half-chances to increase the lead.

But Obeng continued to pose problems, and after Hinchliffe saved one attempt, the young striker tapped in at the back post from a corner.

It was all Rushall in stoppage time but Fylde held on for a point which lifts them to third in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, at least until Worksop play Nantwich tonight. However, they are not five points behind Chorley at the top with six to play.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “It’s a difficult one to take after being so close to winning it. We’ve worked hard for our goals and their first was a decent strike, but the second was a poor goal to concede.

“We may look back at this as an important point but the three points would have been huge for us. Rushall have only lost twice at home all season, so we know it’s difficult here.

“Luke’s injury looks like medial ligament and cartilage damage, similar to what happened to Tom Eckersley, and that will probably be the end of his season.”

Fylde are at home to relegated Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday.

CHRIS PARK

Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin, Sumner, Denson, Russell, B. Barnes (C), Lloyd (M. Barnes 46), Winter, Blinkhorn (M. Huges 84), Cooke (Booth 46), Allen; Subs not used: C. Hughes, Noon.