A HOME tie against League Two Accrington Stanley in the first round of the FA Cup awaits the winners of tonight’s Derbyshire replay after this tight contest at Kellamergh Park.
Adam Farrell scored for the third consecutive game to give the Coasters an early lead in this fourth qualifying round contest but Dereece Gardner scored a deserved equaliser with 20 minutes to go.
Fylde were on a high after four-goal wins over FC United and Chorley in the past week and so started favourites against second-bottom Ilkeston in this clash of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier rivals.
And they got a great start when Farrell headed in Joe Booth’s cross from close range after only six minutes.
Dave Challinor’s side found their way into the Ilkeston box on countless occasions but could not increase their lead by half time.
Richie Allen headed wide and visiting keeper Ashley Timms produced a good save to deny Farrell a second inside the first 10 minutes.
Ilkeston’s first meaningful effort came on 17 minutes from Gary Ricketts, who caused the Fylde defence plenty of problems at the New Manor Ground on the opening day of the season, when the result was the same.
Ricketts headed into the side-netting from Jack Watts’ flick before defender Joe Maguire saw his long range effort comfortably saved by Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe..
Farrell and Booth both had shots inside the box blocked by a determined defence around the half-hour.
Watts almost levelled proceedings with two chances in rapid succession on the stroke of half-time. The first of these produced an outstanding save from Hinchliffe, then Watts headed James Reid’s cross inches wide.
It was hearts-in-mouths time for Fylde fans five minutes into the second half, when Gardner hit a post from 12 yards and Maguire tested the keeper from distance four minutes later.
The home side knew their lead was not secure and Harry Winter came close to adding a second on 57 minutes, as did Farrell a minute later but neither shot could beat Timms.
Reid burst into the Fylde box but squandered a great chance on 69 minutes, hitting the side-netting, then a great move took Fylde straight up to the other end of the field, where Farrell fired over.
However, within a minute, Ilkeston were level as lively captain Matt Richards sent a superb cross into the box for Gardner to thunder his header into the back of the nett.
Fylde plenty of possession from then on but couldn’t find a winner, despite efforts from Allen, Brad Barnes and Glenn Steel, who connected well with Adam Sumner’s corner only to see his header cleared off the line on 81 minutes.
And it remained 1-1 after Laurie Wilson and Brad Barnes both fired well over for their respective sides from outside the box late on.
Challinor had no complaints after admitting Fylde’s standards slipped after half-time. The manager said: “We played well in the first half and the game should have been over with the chances we created.
“But we just didn’t get started in the second half and there was no real urgency.
“You could tell there was a lot on the game and I don’t think either team got the ball down and passed it around, but that’s when we needed good players to step up and play.”
“Ilkeston are a physical side and they were more effective in the second half, but I was disappointed with the goal we conceded.”
Challinor expects another tough match against Ilkeston tonight (7.45pm kick-off) but knows a massive prize awaits the winners on Saturday week.
He added: “ A home tie against a League club local to us is great, if we can get through. Our focus now is all about getting a result in the replay. Everyone will be fit and ready to go if called upon.”
The Coasters beat a Stanley XI 6-0 in a friendly in July.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Steel, B. Barnes (C), Booth (Dorney 75), Winter (Jarvis 90), Farrell (Dean 75), M. Barnes, Allen; not used: Tennant, McCarthy, Doughty, Carden
n Fylde have drawn North West Counties first division club Atherton Laburnum Rovers at home in the second round of Lancashire Co-operative Challenge Trophy a week tomorrow.