FYLDEhave another cup game to negotiate before turning their attention to Saturday’s mouthwatering FA Cup first round clash with Accrington Stanley.
They must first battle it out again with Evo-Stik Northern Premier rivals Nantwich in an FA Carlsberg Trophy second-round replay after this goalless stalemate at Kellamergh Park.
Both sides had countless chances but the keepers proved unbeatable, meaning they meet again at the Dabbers’ Weaver Stadium tomorrow (7.45pm).
Nantwich probably had more possession in the first half but Fylde created the more clear-cut chances.
Coasters boss Dave Challinor had hinted at changes and made them as Paul Jarvis and Jimmy McCarthy looked lively down the wings, both finding space to cut inside and feed James Dean, who couldn’t capitalise on their good work early on.
A deep clearance by Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe beat the defence and fell perfectly for McCarthy to run free and find himself one-on-one with Jon Brain in the Nantwich goal.
However, McCarthy’s low shot was brilliantly saved by Brain at the expense of a corner, from which Glenn Steel’s header hit the top of the crossbar. The visitors began to find some space around the Fylde box, with both Lewis Short and Kyle Lewis forcing good saves from Hinchliffe just before half-time.
These efforts came either side of a great chance for Fylde’s Joe Booth, who collected Dean’s square pass but fired narrowly wide. The second half was more a war of attrition in midfield as both sides struggled to create openings.
However, Nantwich captain Matty Bailey saw his header cleared off the line, then Hinchliffe did well to gather Shaun Cooke’s effort from outside the box.
Cooke tried again with his weaker left foot from further out on 65 minutes but could only fire high.
The game livened up in the closing stages as both sides looked to avoid the replay neither wanted.
Challinor’s triple substitution saw the rested Michael Barnes, Richie Allen and Adam Farrell all brought on to join Dean in attack.
Barnes immediately made an impact, running down the right wing, though his cross for Booth came to nothing.
Cooke and Wilson then saw chances wasted for the visitors as the tie moved into its final five minutes.
Brain saved Dean’s shot well and within a minute denied Barnes with his legs.
Dean headed over and Farrell squandered two gilt-edged chances as the game moved into stoppage time.
First he headed just over the bar, then seemed to take his eye off the ball as he scuffed a square ball from Barnes when he looked sure to score from 10 yards.
A frustrated Challinor said: “We created enough to win the game but I don’t think we showed enough urgency, except in the last 15 minutes after I’d made some changes.
“We live to fight another day but we could have done without the replay.”
Tuesday’s rematch replaces the scheduled league game at Matlock Town and presents the Coaster with another chance of a cup confidence-booster before the visit of League Two Stanley.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Steel, Winter (M. Barnes 71), Booth, Dorney, Dean, McCarthy (Allen 71), Jarvis (Farrell 71); not used: Carden, Doughty.