Fylde 48, Macclesfield 23. THIS was such a stunning spectacle that those lucky enough to witness it will never forget it.
It was easy to run out of superlatives to laud this performance to the skies – but what Fylde did not run out of was spirit, endeavour, skill and heart.
These were qualities on show in abundance by Fylde, who played without some injured heavy hitters, and yet still produced arguably their best display of the season.
Certainly, in the second half they were well nigh unstoppable against the side immediately below them in National League One.
They have never had to dig deeper than this – and were not found wanting, even though things looked bleak at the start of the second half as Macclesfield marauded into a 23-10 lead.
Fylde responded with 38 points without reply, Macclesfield not knowing quite what had hit them.
It always pays to have accomplished finishers like Oli Brennand, who scored three, but this was about far, far more than that – pride in the shirt and a willingness to fight to the bitter end, just two of Fylde’s accomplishments on a day when all 20 players used served the club with distinction.
Fylde took the lead on 13 minutes, when the Macclesfield pack found themselves pushed back at a rolling maul, hooker Jonny Roddam emerging from a pile of bodies to lunge over for a try. Kenyon was well wide with his conversion attempt.
Within five minutes, Macclesfield levelled.
The Cheshire side stretched their lead when Brennand was penalised for failure to release the ball – Winney’s kick made it 11-5.
After 30 minutes, full-back Matthew O’Regan looked like scoring on the left. He was halted, but centre Jack Moorehouse was on hand to notch an unconverted try.
Kenyon found himself in the middle of a rolling maul and exerted the necessary downward pressure to put Fylde back in the game at 16-10, three minutes before half-time.
With seconds of the half remaining, Fylde conceded a penalty, Winney’s commendable effort from 45 yards just missing the target. Macclesfield drew first blood in the second half, Winney linking with Davenport, before Moorehouse hared in for his second score.
Fylde lost their own line-out for a fifth time, but hit back with a superb try on 49 minutes.
Royle and Stephen Briers did much of the groundwork before the ball went down the line, and Brennand was on hand out left to touch down, cutting inside to facilitate Kenyon’s successful kick.
Suddenly, Fylde spread the ball out to the left and Royle released Brennand, who darted in for his second score.
On 66 minutes, Fylde took the lead in magnificent style.
Evan Stewart tested Macclesfield down the left and found replacement prop Tom Lavelle in willing support. He found fellow front-rower Roddam, who slipped through to round off a spectacular move.
Kenyon converted to put Fylde in front 29-23. Brennand completed his hat-trick on 75 minutes. Kenyon kicked out of defence and the ball bounced away from the grasp of a Macclesfield player and straight into the hands of Brennand, who sprinted in from the halfway line. Kenyon landed the kick from far out.
Macclesfield lost front row replacement Gavin Woods to a yellow card, and Fylde took advantage of the extra man, Stewart scrambling over for a try. Fylde scored and again in exhilarating fashion.
Brennand intercepted a stray Macclefield pass deep in his own 22. It looked as though he would go all the way himself, but just as Fowles came across to cover he slipped the ball out to Royle, who finished with aplomb. Kenyon converted amid scenes of justifiable elation and excitement.
It was end-to-end entertainment, which pulsated from first to last.
This sterling, inspired performance must be worthy of taking pride of place among the club’s all-time finest – and that is no idle compliment.
Fylde: Royle; Viney (Waywell, 68) C Briers, S Briers, Brennand; Kenyon, Wallwork (Depledge 75); Livesey (Griffiths, 62) Roddam, Loney (Lavelle, 51) S Beaumont (McGuinness, 79) Ferguson, Stephenson, McGinnis, Stewart.