AFC Fylde 3 Salford City 3: Full match report

Steve Williams celebrates the late equaliser Picture; STEVE MCLELLAN
Steve Williams celebrates the late equaliser Picture; STEVE MCLELLAN
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AFC Fylde moved top of National League North after a record crowd of 1,832 saw them seal a deserved point with an injury-time strike.

The last three Coasters games have produced 20 goals, Fylde scoring 14 of them, though they have had to settle for draws from both games at their new Mill Farm home.

Dave Challinor was forced into two changes to the side which won 5-3 at Alfreton on Saturday, Tony Thompson making his full debut in place of the injured Rhys Taylor in goal and Sam Finley making his first appearance of the season after suspension in place of Brendon Daniels.

After a bright opening, Fylde opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, Bohan Dixon bursting down the left before centring the ball to Finley and he took a touch before firing into the roof of the net.

Salford looked for a quick response when Matthew Warburton let fly from a dangerous position on the edge of the area but his low strike was well saved by Thompson down to his left.

Shortly before the half- hour mark the visitors were level. Warburton slipped in James Poole 20 yards from goal and the striker coolly slotted past Thompson with the outside of his boot.

The match was a lively affair in front of Fylde’s biggest-ever home crowd and James Hardy went close to restoring the their lead with a close- range header that was clawed away by goalkeeper Jay Lynch.

Play raced straight down to the other end and this time Poole was the provider for Warburton, but this time Thompson was equal to his low effort.

The Coasters were given a let-off when Poole broke down the right into acres of space before whipping in a teasing cross that no one could get on the end of.

It was the Ammies’ turn to breathe a sigh of relief five minutes before the break. The ever-dangerous Hardy was played clean through before appearing to be hacked down by the advancing goalkeeper but the officials were unmoved.

Hardy almost turned provider when he laid off to Holmes, whose rasping first-time drive from the right of the box was narrowly wide of the far post. Dixon was just off-target with a header at the back post as the ref blew for half-time.

Goalscorer Finley had the first attempt after the interval when he looped a shot from distance into the arms of Lynch, then Salford’s Billy Priestley headed over in an end-to-end start to the second period.

Salford completed the turnaround on the hour-mark, when Sam Walker delivered a deep free-kick into the box and towering defender Michael Nottingham powered home a header, wiping out the keeper in the process.

Dixon could have levelled instantly for the Coasters when he got a shot away from 15 yards but Lynch pulled off the save of the match low to his right. The equaliser duly arrived on 67 minutes in emphatic fashion.

Danny Rowe, who scored four last time out at Alfreton, picked up the ball 25 yards out, beat his man and the helpless keeper could only watch as the ball flew into the top corner.

Nottingham took aim for a goal of the season contender from fully 35 yards but his shot bounced a foot wide of the left hand post.

The Coasters almost took the lead with just over 10 minutes to go, when Rowe’s sublime free-kick crashed against a post and Caspar Hughes couldn’t turn home the rebound.

There was still time for another twist, when visiting striker Phenix shrugged off Josh Langley and curled home a beautiful strike into the top right corner with five minutes remaining.

However, it was Fylde who had the last laugh deep into stoppage time, when Andy Bond whipped in an inviting cross to the back post and there was Steve Williams to head into the bottom corner and maintain his side’s unbeaten start.

Fylde’s superior goal difference sees them lead a group of four teams with 11 points, including Salford and Saturday’s visitors to Mill Farm Halifax.

DANIEL AGNEW

AFC Fylde: Thompson, Holmes, Langley, Williams, Kennedy, C. Hughes (Blinkhorn 88), Bond, Finley, Hardy (Baker 90), Dixon (M. Hughes 65), Rowe.

Salford City: Lynch, Nottingham, O’Halloran, Burton, Grand, Priestley, Warburton (Johnston 46), Walker, Phenix (Clarke 88), Poole (King 76), Hulme.