Play-off heartbreak for Coasters: Boreham Wood 2 AFC Fylde 1

Simon Grand's headed goal gives Fylde hope at Boreham Wood
Simon Grand's headed goal gives Fylde hope at Boreham Wood

Fylde’s valiant promotion bid in their first-ever National League season ended in an agonising defeat in the first round of the play-offs.

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A nightmare opening 17 minutes proved costly for the Coasters as both Jamie Turley and Bruno Andrade headed home unchallenged.

And although Simon Grand pulled one back on the half-hour, the all-important equaliser proved elusive.

Manager Dave Challinor made two changes to the side that secured seventh spot at Wrexham on Saturday, with the suspended Luke Burke replaced by Jake Lawlor and James Hardy making way for Jack Muldoon.

The hosts flew out of the traps and made their early dominance pay after just six minutes.

Andrade won a corner down the left which he whipped in for Turley to power home.

Turley went close to grabbing a second soon after, when another set-piece found him at the back post but he curled his effort narrowly wide.

Fylde were struggling to cope with balls into the box and yet another free-kick was poked just wide by Angelo Balanta.

Unsurprisingly the home side doubled their advantage in similar fashion, when Michael Folivi crossed to the far post and Andrade rose above Grand to loop a stunning header into the opposite corner.

The Coasters finally started to get a foothold in the game and Lewis Montrose was agonisingly close to halving the deficit when he glanced Sam Finley’s set-piece narrowly wide.

National League Player of the Year Danny Rowe had his first sight of goal on the half-hour, when his rasping drive was deflected around the post but the resulting corner was set to send the Fylde fans wild.

Finley’s deep outswinger was headed goalwards twice by the unmarked Montrose before being headed into the roof of the net by Grand.

The momentum had turned in Fylde’s favour and Wood keeper Grant Smith had to get down quickly at his near post to deny Muldoon on the turn.

It was all Fylde as half-time approached, with David Stephens heading Montrose’s first-time strike off the line.

The half-time whistle came at the wrong time for the Coasters, allowing the home side to regain their authority after the break.

The visitors rode the storm and looked dangerous on the counter, almost drawing level in an almighty goalmouth scramble but the ball just wouldn’t drop to an orange shirt.

The chances were coming thick and fast as Lawlor lashed an effort from 10 yards a whisker over the bar from Finley’s right-wing corner.

The visitors had the ball in the net shortly after the hour, when Jonny Smith was sent racing away and tucked his shot beneath his namesake only to be wrongly flagged offside.

Fylde put together one of their best moves of the evening when Muldoon broke through the centre and Hardy fed Rowe, whose angled shot was blocked.

The hosts should have put the tie to bed 10 minutes from time, when keeper Jay Lynch hacked down Andrade on his way to goal. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot but the Fylde stopper redeemed himself, sensationally palming away Andrade’s penalty.

The spurred on the Coasters and Finley tested Smith with a stinging drive from fully 30 yards.

Matt Blinkhorn was introduced late on as Dave Challinor was forced into a route one style and the targetman glanced a header wide as seven minutes of added time were indicated.

Rowe had Fylde’s last chance of an equaliser but his free-kick sailed a foot wide and Boreham Wood will now visit Sutton United in Sunday's semi-final.

Boreham Wood: G. Smith, K. Smith (Shakes 45), Woodards, Ricketts, Stephens, Champion, Murtagh, Andrade, Turley, Balanta, Folivi (Quigley 87); Subs not used: Doe, Davey.

Fylde: Lynch, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Lawlor, Grand (Hardy 63), Francis-Angol, Montrose (Jones 77), Finley, Muldoon, Smith (Blinkhorn 81), Rowe; subs not used: Taylor, Stubbs.

Ref: J Johnson.

Att: 1,244 (Away 136)