AFC Fylde goal hero Ben Tollitt on 'bittersweet' Christmas

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It’s been a It’s been a “bittersweet” Christmas for AFC Fylde winger Ben Tollitt.
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Chester 2 AFC Fylde 2: Late Ben Tollitt strike ends losing run for Coasters

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a successful week on a personal note, scoring Fylde’s consolation goal against Chorley on Sunday and then bagging their last-minute equaliser 48 hours later at Chester, having set up their opening goal for Nick Haughton in the 2-2 draw.

But that point was the Coasters’ first in three games and they have slipped to third in National League North, leaving the former Blackpool wideman in no doubt that his side must rediscover their early-season form quickly.

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AFC Fylde scorers Ben Tollitt (left) and Nick Haughton celebrate in front of the fans at Chester   Picture: STEVE MCLELLANAFC Fylde scorers Ben Tollitt (left) and Nick Haughton celebrate in front of the fans at Chester   Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
AFC Fylde scorers Ben Tollitt (left) and Nick Haughton celebrate in front of the fans at Chester Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Tollitt said of the draw at the Deva: “It was mayhem really. We weren’t very good at all but got a point out of it.

“We’d lost three on the spin, including the cup game (the FA Trophy loss to Solihull Moors), but managed to stop that run with a point.

“Scoring in the last minute and getting a point when you have gone down to 10 men is better than nothing but it doesn’t hide the fact we all know we can play better.

“We have to get back to what we were doing at the beginning of the season. Without being big-headed, we were blowing teams away and playing some really good football.

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“Hopefully this is the start of that now and that late goal can kick us on in the right way.

“We have had bad luck with injuries and Covid, but I back us and I think everyone else backs whoever is out there to go and do a good job for us.”

The Liverpudlian knows Fylde can take heart after coming back from behind twice with only 10 men, ex-Blackpool midfielder David Perkins having been sent off with more than half an hour to play.

Tollitt added: “When there’s fire going on around you, you have to try to stay cool and that’s the only way to look at it really. We had a free-kick when Perks was sent off, so we had the ball and could calm down a little bit and get into some short of shape.”

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And the game couldn’t have ended on a more positive note for the winger.

“They had a good turnout today, so obviously they were giving you pelters from the side and it was nice to quieten them at the end, I suppose.

“I don’t think there are many better feelings in life than scoring a goal.

“I’m a massive footie fan, whether I’m playing or watching, I just love the game.

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“To score a goal is amazing and it’s nice to celebrate in front of the fans but we wanted to come here and win.

“We know we can play better, so it’s bittersweet but I suppose with the way the game went that’s the best we could have got out of it.”

Fylde manager Jim Bentley also reflected on a day of mixed emotions. He said: “I’m disappointed with the way we played. We are in a little bit of a rut at the minute but the important thing was to break that cycle of three defeats.

“We wanted to get the three points but it was important to get something. To score twice with 10 men showed our battling qualities and a bit of character.

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“To go 1-0 down with 10 men, a passionate crowd and the run we’ve been on, it would have been easy to crumble but we battled back.

“I thought we were positive in our approach. With 10 men it’s easy just to cover up and hope for a breakaway but we continued to ask questions.

“I’m really pleased to have got a point but we aren’t going to celebrate. It was a point we deserved for our work rate.”

Fylde next face a second successive Sunday match against a Chorley side now just a point behind them.

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