Fylde 34, Luctonians 29
CARD tricks can now be added to this Fylde team’s list of talents – having played the Get Out of Jail card at Preston a week earlier, they dealt it again at the Woodlands on Saturday.
For a second successive week, a last-gasp try clinched victory, this time courtesy of Callum McShane, and moved Fylde closer to the National Two North title.
This was an error-strewn performance by Fylde against a resilient Herefordshire club who looked like holding on for a draw they probably deserved. But the hosts stretched their winning habit to 13 games as they continue to find ways of edging tight matches.
The course of this game closely mirrored Fylde’s previous one at Lighfoot Green, where a blistering start and some fine tries were tempered by poor handling, disciplinary problems and wasted chances which allowed the opposition back into the contest before the final dynamic attack to snatch victory.
From Fylde’s first attack the ball was spun out to centre Mike Waywell and he beat a couple of Luctonians defenders to claim a very smart try.
Lucs full-back Will Hodnett, who was steamrollered by Waywell, had to retire shortly afterwards looking very shaky on his feet. Steve Collins missed the conversion.
Another fluent Fylde attack saw full-back Richard Kenyon step through the defence without a hand being laid on him.
Collins kicked a straightforward conversion this time and Fylde led 12-0 with the game barely five minutes old. The visitors weren’t laid low by shellshock and secured some decent possession, centre John Morris putting them on the scoreboard with a penalty after 12 minutes.
Fylde’s fast offloading game is high on risk and it started to go wrong when Ben James capitalised on a mix-up in the backs to drive over for a 25th-minute try. Morris converted to cut the deficit to two.
and exercised more control and patience in the final 10 minutes of the half.
Their back row was working very effectively, with flankers Steve McGinnis and Mark Stephenson making some fine breaks alongside skipper Sam Beaumont.
After a series of close-range attacks down the Lucs’ right, the ball reached hooker Alan Holmes and he drove over on 35 minutes.
Collins missed again, but Fylde took a 17-10 lead into half-time.
Luctonians started the second half strongly as their phenomenal try-scoring prop Anthony Marfell bagged his 10th of the season. Surprisingly, Morris missed the conversion which would have levelled the scores.
In an end-to-end encounter, Fylde stretched their lead on 52 minutes, when centre Jack Ward powered over from 10 metres and Collins gave his side a cushion at 24-15.
But any notion that Fylde would now take control was quickly dispelled as the home side persisted in making mistakes and gifting possession to their resilient visitors.
It took Lucs only a couple of minutes to cut the gap to two points once again as play was spread wide for winger Ed Binham to dive over in the right corner.
The game appeared to turn Fylde’s way again on 61 minutes, when Lucs lock Alex Davidson was picked out by the assistant referee for a straight red card for foul play.
Replacement prop Tom Lavelle, who had earlier shown his handling skills to set McShane free down the left, displayed his sheer muscle to marge through for a 65th-minute try. Again the conversion was missed, so Fylde were only one score in front.
Back came the 14 men again, playing a wider game despite being a man down, and the Fylde defence left space out wide after 70 minutes for man of the match Morris to dive over in the corner to the delight of the visiting supporters.
Morris crowned his try with a superb touchline conversion to level the scores.
In the rollercoaster closing stages, Fylde looked to have been handed victory with a straightforward penalty two minutes from time.
However, Collins’ kick drifted wide of the post and Fylde looked destined for their first draw of the season.
But from a ruck 30m out, there was time for one final twist. The ball was moved from scrum-half Martin Wallwork to replacement flanker Cameron Thompson to Kenyon, whose perfect pass found winger McShane with space to race in at the corner.
Fylde’s fifth missed goal attempt of the afternoon came too late to make any difference as Fylde’s happy knack of scoring tries at crucial moments saved them again.
Fylde: Kenyon; Robinson, Waywell, Ward, McShane; Collins, Wallwork; Livesey, Holmes, Altham, Arnold, Ferguson, Stephenson, McGinnis, S Beaumont. Replacements: Lavelle, Madden, Thompson, Aikman, Sutherland