Chester 1 AFC Fylde 1: Report and reaction
AFC Fylde earned a solid point at Chester in their first away trip of the new National League season.
The Coasters opened the scoring moments before half-time through summer signing Jack Muldoon but were pegged back seconds later, when Lucas Dawson slid the ball home.
Both clubs had golden chances to take maximum points from the entertaining contest after the break, none more so than Sam Finley with a rasping volley that was clawed out of the top corner.
Manager Dave Challinor made two changes from the opening day’s 2-2 draw against Boreham Wood as Henry Jones and Saturday’s goal hero Jonny Smith came into the starting line-up.
Fylde flew out of the blocks and almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion inside six minutes. A corner was cleared only as far as Finley 25 yards from goal and the midfield man let fly with a dipping volley that landed on the roof of the net. The hosts were enjoying some success down their left and a delightful cross from Craig Mahon was nodded just over by the Harry White
Chester frontman White was looking dangerous but saw his strike blocked at the last by Jordan Tunnicliffe.
The chances were flowing at either end and Jones, unmarked at the back post, steered a glancing header wide.
White powered another header narrowly over Rhys Taylor’s crossbar in an entertaining first half.
The Blues were starting to dominate nd went again close when James Akintunde was first to a low cross but flicked his effort wide.
The Coasters had the chance of the match so far, when Muldoon flew down the left before picking out Smith in acres of space inside the area. His low attempt to the far corner looked goalbound ut trickled agonisingly wide.
Fylde eventually broke Chester’s reistance on the stroke of half-time and it was a first in Fylde colours for Muldoon. Finley was set free down the right and his ball into the near post was neatly slotted into the bottom corner by the former Lincoln man.
However, barely 60 seconds later the hosts were level. Some neat play down the left ended with Dawson firing low into the far corner from 12 yards.
White very nearly found the top corner with a sublime curling strike that whistled a foot wide.
Danny Rowe had his first sniff of goal when Muldoon found him on the six-yard line but his first-time effort was blocked. Fylde were soaking up the pressure well and enjoyed a spell of their own as Rowe flashed a shot wide from 25 yards.
Lewis Montrose watched a fierce strike fly just over from the edge of the area and the Coasters were denied a late winner by a stunning save from Conor Mitchell. Finley snatched at the ball 18 yards from goal and his sweet volley was acrobatically tipped around the far post by the young stopper.
Manager Dave Challinor again saw his Fylde side prove they can compete at their new level with a second successive draw in the Vanarama National League.
The Coasters boss said: “I don’t think there was an awful lot in the game. Our two games so far this season have been tight affairs.
“It was obviously disappointing to concede so soon after taking the lead.
“We have conceded in the last minute of the first half in both games now and that’s frustrating.
“It’s still early in the season and people aren’t 100 per cent match sharp yet, so it’s no coincidence that there are tired legs towards the end of the half.
“We looked dangerous on the counter attack but were too sloppy in possession at times.
“There are a lot of new partnerships out there and they will need time.
“We started the second half well and we were on the front foot but the game became a little scrappy.”
Challinor added that his players must not get over-anxious as they chase a first win at the elite level of non-league.
He said: “We were tying a bit too hard to get the winner, and whilst we want to get that first win under our belts we can’t get too carried away because a point on the road is decent at any level.
“We will take it and move on to a long trip to Ebbsfleet on Saturday with the hope of getting that first three points.”
Chester: Mitchell, Halls, Rowe-Turner, James, McCombe, Astles, Mahon (Chapell 80), Turnbull, White (Bell 72), Dawson, Akintunde (Hannah 65).
Subs not used: Lynch, Davies, Chapell.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Langley, Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Jones, Muldoon, Smith, Rowe (Hardy 80).
Subs not used: Lynch, Grand, Ezewele, Blinkhorn.
Ref: Daniel Middleton.