Stockport County 0, AFC Fylde 0
These two clubs played out their second goalless draw in 10 days in the Vanarama Conference North – but this was an exhilarating contest.
Richie Allen had the best chance of the first half but Danny Hurst saved comfortably, and at the other end,Andy Owen had a header cleared off the line by Danny Lloyd.
The second half was edged by the home side but for a late five-minute spell in which Danny Rowe was inches away from scoring a winner against his former club.
It was another bright start for The Coasters. Lloyd aimed a cross towards Richie Allen at the back post but Hurst was able to cut it out, and within seconds, Michael Potts drove a strike wide from 20 yards.
Neither Josh Wilson or Allen could find the target with curling efforts from outside the box and Allen should have done better with a free-kick on the edge of County’s box which he fired straight at Hurst.
However the hosts, buoyed by the partisan home support, grew into the game late in the half and were unlucky not to find the back of the net on more than one occasion.
A poor free-kick from Lloyd allowed County to counter and Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe was grateful for a soft strike from Kristian Dennis.
There was controversy on 24 minutes, when Scott Spencer went down inside the box following Josh Langley’s challenge but referee Steven Copeland booked the County player for simulation.
Eight minutes before the break, County had the best chance yet when Spencer headed a cross by former Coasters midfielder Jamie Milligan cross on to the roof of Fylde’s net before Andy Owens saw his header cleared off the line by Lloyd from another County corner.
The home side came out stronger in the second period.
Owens headed another corner wide, then at the other end, Bradley Barnes was very unlucky not to do better when he volleyed Lloyd’s cross into the ground and over the County bar on 56 minutes.
Spencer saw three efforts wasted within 10 minutes for County before a speculative strike from Chris Churchman sailed high over the Fylde bar.
County’s best chance came with 12 minutes to go, when Hinchliffe pulled off a fine save to deny Dennis and Spencer could only fire the rebound against Langley and wide.
But it was former County front man Rowe who almost stole the show, when he latched on to Barnes’ passand raced into the box only to inches wide from a tight angle.
The point lifts Fylde a place to third ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Stalybridge.