Superb comeback eases Fylde's relegation worries

Massive win for Fylde
Massive win for Fylde
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Fylde 33, Coventry 24

If retaliation is needed to address an urgent issue, it is always imperative to get that retaliation fast.

And Fylde certainly carried that out to the letter at the Woodlands on Saturday.

With the score 24-12 down with 13 minutes plus stoppage-time to go is not exactly a crisis, but a pretty tough ask,

But Fylde came up with the answers all right, scoring three splendid tries in the space of five minutes to turn the contest around, a stirring, sterling effort that reflects credit on all concerned.

Cutting-edge finishing was required to breach the Coventry line and Fylde had just the personnel to do it, Connor Wilkinson scoring twice in rapid-fire succession, followed by another smart effort by skipper Chris Briers.

It not only showed the home side's attacking prowess, but their resilience under pressure in a match where it would have been all too easy to let heads drop.

Fylde put on a whole head of steam and Coventry did not quite know what had hit them

At one point when Coventry held sway one of their party shouted out from the touchlines that they could prepare for a good night out on the back of an away win - instead, they were probably left crying in their beer!

It was a tribute to Fylde's dogged determination not to give in, which saw them pull through.

No player in the Fylde ranks deserved it more than back row forward Jack Turley, who scored Fylde;s opening try

It was not just the fact that he sported a scarlet scrum-cap that made him stand out like a beacon with his work-rate and energy.

Fylde started the match very much on the front foot and at it early on in the February sunshine and their attack went through several phases with the likes of Sam Bedlow, Briers and Greg Smith all prominent, before flanker Turley crashed in at the left-hand corner. Smith was short with a difficult kick from the touchline (5-0).

Coventry didn't get into the Fylde 22 until the 13th minute and a couple of minutes later the Midlanders scored a try out of the blue, centre Tom Wheatcroft seizing quickly on a loose pass and taking advantage of the unfortunate error to dash in for an equalising score that was unconverted (5-5).

Fylde were then penalised at a scrum, and Coventry kicked deep into the heart of Fylde terrain.

A second penalty accrued at the resulting, attacking maul, but stubborn Fylde defence repelled the very real threat of Coventry heading into the lead.

By now it was Coventry starting to be prominent in attack and Fylde forced to look to their defensive laurels for a testing. long-term spell.

Fylde were penalised twice in rapid succession to give Coventry another chance to take the lead.

At this juncture the home side were in extreme pressure as Coventry pounded away for a good five minutes.

They held firm for a spell, but they eventually cracked on 34 minutes and it was lock Josh Peters who barged over for a try, augmented by William Maisey (5-12).

Within a minute or so try-scorer Peters had turned into the villain of the piece.

A punch-up broke out in midfield and it was the Coventry second row who was banished to the sin-bin.

From the resulting penalty, Fylde earned promising field position and they took maximum advantage.

They drove forward in a maul at the bottom of which flanker Matt Rogerson dived over, referee Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts taking time to decide but then raising his hand.

Smith's excellent conversion tied up the scores (`12-all)

Coventry came out of the traps quickly at the start of the second half and Fylde had to put in a maximum defensive stint somehow to keep their line intact.

The knocked on near the right touchline, but the referee was still playing advantage, so the pressure continued - next up the Cov attack was held up near the line on the left.

But something had to give and it did on 46 minutes with Maisey find himself with time and space to finish the move off. His conversion struck the cross-bar and went over (12-19).

Coventry started to turn the screw and they punched a big hole down the right side of the Fylde defence, replacement Heath Stevens finishing the move with a try, crushing to the home side's hopes (12-24).

By now Fylde had rung the changes in a bid to turn the tide and entering the final quarter they had it all on to salvage something.

One of the Fylde replacements, Jordan Dorrington tried a cheeky chip in an attacking position, but the Coventry defence was well alive to the ploy.

Connor Dever then made an enterprising break, taking him 30 yards, but the move petered out.

Fylde started to assert as Coventry conceded a succession of penalties - prop Adam Lewis came desperately close to to a try, but was held up.

After consultation with the touch-judge the referee then yellow-carded Coventry fly-half Anthony Fenner, so Coventry were reduced to 14 men for the second time.

Fylde took due advantage of the extra man and Wilkinson showed a fine turn of speed to sprint down the right flank, cutting inside to facilitate Smith's conversion.

Within two minutes, Wilkinson did it again, another penetrative break seeing him over the line - Smith goaled this bonus point try and put Fylde ahead 26-24.

Coventry must have been rattled by now and that point was underlined when Briers streaked in for a decisive touchdown.

Running at speed down the Fylde right, a real point of Coventry weakness, he sent out an outrageous dummy that Coventry bought and he rounded it off with aplomb.

Smith's touchline conversion of Briers' party-piece try put Fylde two scores ahead (33-24).

Coventry were not giving up and attacked with force, but Fylde supporters breathed a hearty sigh of relief as they knocked on close to the line.

Then they actually went over the try-line, but the referee had observed a forward pass in the build-up and Fylde's big day was complete.

Fylde: Briers; Armstrong, Wilkinson, Bedlow, Bailey; Smith, Dever; Wild, Burtonwood, Lewis, Gray, Garrod, Rogerson, Turley, Fairbrother. Replacements: Taylor, Loney, Lamprey, Dorrington, Vernon