Coasters’ deadlock at Matlock

Andy Russell - netted the equaliserAndy Russell - netted the equaliser
Andy Russell - netted the equaliser
Matlock town 1, AFC Fylde 1

AFC Fylde came from a goal down at half-time to claim a well deserved point at Matlock which keeps them third in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

Danny Holland slotted in from close range seven minutes before the break to give his side the lead as Fylde struggled to gain any momentum inside the first 45.

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But five minutes into the second period, Andy Russell smashed home an equaliser from six yards after Matlock goalkeeper Jon Kennedy spilled Mike Barnes’ free-kick.

After Holland missed a chance inside the first minute, Danny Lloyd could have given the Coasters the lead after three minutes but shot across the face of the goal.

Matlock looked the more likely to score in the first half-hour but Micky Harcourt and Corey Gregory both shot high and wide.

After a period without clear chances, Matlock eventually struck when Gregory’s through-ball split the defence and Holland beat the offside trap and then beat Ben Hinchliffe one-on-one.

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Fylde reacted positively and within two minutes Brad Barnes missed their best chance of the half when his close-range header from Michael Barnes’ cross lacked power.

Fylde started the second half strongly and soon equalised from a Mike Barnes free-kick 35 yards out. Kennedy couldn’t keep hold of the ball and Russell was on hand to poke home.

Matlock had a good chance to regain the lead on 57 minutes, when Liam Needham’s effort from the edge of the box deflected of Luke Denson, but Hinchliffe stretched well to save

Possibly the best chance for a winner fell to Dave Hankin just after the hour. Brad Barnes beat the keeper to the ball inside the area and laid it back to Hankin, who shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

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Both sides knew one mistake from either defence could prove fatal and Lewis McMahon shot wildly wide on the turn before Lloyd forced a good save from Kennedy, who wasn’t troubled when Harry Winter scuffed a shot.

The last meaningful effort of the match fell to Lloyd, whose shot from distance was not test for the Matlock keeper.

Fylde manager Dave Challinor felt the draw was probably the fairest result. He said: “It was a close game. The goal we conceded was disappointing but we looked for a reaction in the second half and I thought we were a lot better.

“I think the players need to take some responsibility. We set them up in a certain formation, but they need to realise what the other team is doing and I think we took too long to do that.

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“I don’t think we exploited the way they played, in a diamond formation, well enough in the first half but we did in the second.

“We then made a positive change to try to win the game, going with three at the back and five in , and it opened the game up.”

Having taken just one point from their last six, Fylde now take a break from the league with three cup-ties in the next eight days.

These start with a visit to Mossley in the first round of the Doodson Sports Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).