Macclesfield 24, Fylde 39
FYLDE regained their composure and some of their best form after a nightmare start at Priory Field.
The victory saw Mark Nelson’s side consolidate second spot in National One, bouncing back in style after conceding two tries in the opening five minutes.
Macc didn’t start like a side that had lost three successive games, racing out of their starting blocks, and exploiting some weak Fylde defending, with tries by lock Chris Roddy and top-scoring full-back Fergus Mulchrone, formerly of Sale Sharks.
Both conversions were missed, but still Fylde were shaken to trail 10-0 so early.
The visitors then steadied the ship, despite aggressive Macc defence, and got on the scoreboard after 10 minutes, as former Macc skipper Evan Stewart scored from a catch-and-drive, following his four tries against Tynedale seven days earlier.
Fly-half Richard Kenyon converted to reduce the deficit to three.
Macc continued to hold the whip hand in the first half. and Fylde were stretched to get anything like their share of possession.
After 24 minutes, Charlie Mulchrone followed brother Fergus’ lead with a try near the posts, running from an attacking maul. Fly-half Tom Eaton’s first goal made it 17-7.
Fylde were on the ropes, but Kenyon again reduced the gap with a penalty.
At that point, however, the visitors lost influential flanker Steve McGinnis with a recurrence of his troublesome ankle injury.
In the 37th minute,
Macc flanker Ryan Parkinson was yellow-carded for a technical offence, and Kenyon kicked a fine long-range penalty to leave Fylde 17-13 down at the interval.
Fylde made tactical changes which paid off in a stirring second-half performance. They attacked up the centre, and sucked in Macc cover to create more space out wide.
Still with a one-man advantage, Fylde took a quick tap-penalty 20m out and lock Paul Arnold picked a great line to storm through a gap for a fine try six minutes in. Kenyon converted, and Fylde led for the first time.
The Blues suffered another blow when Charlie Mulchrone was forced off with a knee injury, but his side hit back with a try from centre Richard Hughes in the 56th minute. Eaton’s goal meant Macc were back in front 24-20.
The final quarter was dominated by a spirited Fylde team.
Using forward replacements shrewdly, they dominated possession and looked dangerous.
The next try, on 67 minutes, was a repeat of their first, Stewart claiming a sixth try in two games from a rolling maul.
Despite Kenyon’s only failure of the afternoon with the boot, the lead had changed hands again, with Fylde a point up.
But Fylde were bossing the match and proceeded to pull clear, winger Oli Brennand skipping past the defenders down the left before he sent full-back Nick Royle sprinting over on 71 minutes.
And victory was sealed five minutes later, when replacement prop Simon Griffiths crowned an impressive cameo by driving over with three defenders hanging off him.
Kenyon’s sixth goal completed the scoring, as Fylde cut top dogs Ealing’s lead to seven points (they lost at Barking) ahead of fourth-placed Coventry’s visit to the Woodlands on Saturday.
Fylde: Royle, Halsall, C Briers, Waywell, Brennand, Kenyon, Wallwork; Altham, Roddam, Loney, Rawlings, Arnold, Stewart, McGinnis, Beaumont; replacements: Griffiths, Lavelle, Ferguson, Collins, Depledge.