Barrow 1 AFC Fylde 1: Croasdale grabs equaliser against 10-man leaders
AFC Fylde battled to a point away at league leaders Barrow as Ryan Croasdale levelled late on against the 10-man Bluebirds.
The Coasters made two changes from the 2-2 draw with Yeovil, with Nick Haughton in for Mark Yeates and Kyle Jameson coming in for Andy Taylor at left-back.
Early signs looked good for Fylde, with Haughton looking dangerous down the left.
Barrow’s first chance came as Brad Barry’s searching cross was turned behind by Neill Byrne.
From the corner, Barrow won themselves a penalty after a flurry of blue and yellow shirts collapsed to the floor, with Dan Bradley the accused.
John Rooney stepped up looking to add his 12th league goal of the season but Sam Hornby had other ideas.
He dived quickly across to his right and made a fantastic stop, with captain Byrne removing the danger.
With a new lease of life after the let-off, The Coasters had the chance to take the lead. Danny Rowe was released on the right, looked up and strode into the box but blazed over the bar.
Barrow must have thought they’d opened the scoring when Rooney fired through a crowded penalty box. Hornby made an awkward save and it almost fell to Scott Quigley, but Kyle Jameson was able to punt clear.
Haughton was Fylde’s most impressive outlet, and he forced a yellow card for his opposite number Barry, who chopped him down.
Jameson’s run forward resulted in a great low cross to pick out Matty Kosylo, but Joel Dixon denied him with a great front-post stop.
The resulting corner saw another massive opportunity as Dixon couldn’t make a firm punch on the cross, and Bradley was there waiting on the edge of the box.
Bradley struck it first time but his shot bounced agonisingly off of the crossbar.
The Coasters were kicking themselves at half-time not to be ahead, as Luke Burke was played cleverly through by Kosylo and had an array of yellow shirts to aim for. He picked out Bradley, who blazed over the bar from 18 yards with a poor effort.
Bradley soon made amends at the other end, with a fantastic tackle on Josh Kay in the penalty area, where he only had Hornby to beat.
Despite plenty of talking points, it was goalless at the break.
Haughton picked up where he had left off in the second half and very nearly opened the scoring with a shot which whistled narrowly wide.
Moments later Rooney went close again, thundering a free-kick from distance narrowly over the bar.
At the other end, Haughton’s corner picked out a towering Byrne but his header whistled inches wide of the post.
A brilliant counterattack saw Fylde open Barrow up once more, this time Haughton sliding Ryan Croasdale in but his low effort was stopped by Dixon with relative ease.
The end to end nature continued and the Coasters should have taken the lead through Rowe.
A massive moment in the game came as a quick counter saw Josh Kay and Matty Kosylo tangle off of the ball. After much deliberation, Kay was shown a second yellow card.
Rowe’s resulting free-kick was a disappointing one, and three minutes later the 10 men of Barrow had taken the lead.
It was a straightforward enough goal for the Barrow number nine Quigley, who shrugged off a challenge from Byrne and slotted it low past Hornby on 66 minutes.
The Coasters responded, with Bradley coming off and Kurt Willoughby joining Rowe up front.
Haughton continued to threaten and went close again with an effort that whistled past the post.
Barrow weren’t shutting up shop, however, and went close to a spectacular second, when Ollie Dyson’s fantastic overhead kick almost found its way into the net.
Fylde pulled level on 85 minutes, when some patient build-up play saw Burke pick out Croasdale with a teasing cross.
Croasdale took a touch, steadied himself and calmly prodded the ball beyond the onrushing Dixon.
Seven minutes of added time were shown and Barrow forced a flurry of corners.
Even so, a huge chance came the Coasters’ way as a brilliant Yeates cross caused havoc but Rowe couldn’t turn the ball home.
The final chance of the game fell the way of Barrow’s Dyson but he dragged his effort wide.
AFC Fylde: Hornby, Jameson (Taylor 86), Whitmore, Byrne, Burke, Philliskirk, Croasdale, Bradley (Willoughby 70), Haughton (Yeates 81), Kosylo, Rowe; subs not used: Lavercombe, Craigen.
Barrow: Dixon, Brough, Hird, Kay, Quigley, Rooney (Taylor 86), Hardcastle (Brown 65), Platt, White, Angus (Dyson 74), Barry; subs not used: Hindle, Harrison
Referee: Ben Speedie