Cruellest cup blow for Fylde

Ritchie Allen celebrating his equaliser in the 2-2 draw to force the rematch.
Ritchie Allen celebrating his equaliser in the 2-2 draw to force the rematch.
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Gainsborough Trinity 2 AFC Fylde 1

Fylde were cruelly denied a chance to continue their FA Cup adventure via a penalty shoot-out when Trinity’s Andrew Boyce won this thrilling second qualifying round replay with the final kick last night.

When Trinity won a corner in added time at the end of extra-time, the ball was not cleared and centre-half Boyce got the all-important touch to leave a valiant Coasters side from two rungs down the non-league ladder devastated.

Kelham O’Hanlon’s side started in confident mood after Saturday’s enthralling 2-2 draw at Kellamergh Park, with an attacking line-up pressing the home side.

But it was the Blue Squar Bet North club that that gained the advantage on 19 minutes, when Michael Leary fired past keeper Danny McDonald from outside the box.

The Coasters soon responded, with Lee Thorpe’s shot cleared off the line.

The equaliser duly arrived in the 27th minute when Ritchie Allen, whose equaliser on Saturday had earned this Lincolnshire rematch, finished clinically after a flowing move.

Powerhouse striker Thorpe found winger Michael Barnes, who raced down the flank and teed up Allen for his ninth goal of the season.

Fylde suffered a setback when defender Micky Stringfellow limped off, resulting in a reshuffle which saw Joe Booth come on and skipper Rick Mercer switch to centre-half.

Gavin Cowan had Trinity’s best opportunity of regaining the lead with a header but it remained 1-1 at half-time.

Trinity were quick out of the blocks, with experienced winger Ryan Williams causing problems and Mettam hitting the crossbar only for Louis McMahon to blaze over with his follow-up shot.

The Coasters too hit the bar, when Barnes cut in from the right and shot from an acute angle.

With 20 minutes to go, home penalty claims were waved away when Kendal tumbled in the box.

There were late chances at both ends. Trinity’s Kevin Sandwith hit his own bar from a Fylde corner on 82 minutes, then Jamie Yates went up the other end and hit the side-netting when well placed.

Paul Jarvis’ close-range header was saved by Trinity keeper Pettinger and extra-time was required. The home side pressed in the extra half-hour as Booth slipped on the edge of his own box but the full-stretch McDonald saved Leary’s shot.

Fylde’s best chance of extra-time saw the livewire Allen miss the target by inches.

With penalties looming, Boyce poked the ball home and it was sheer heartbreak for Fylde.

O’Hanlon was full of praise for his side’s magnificent efforts. He said: “I’m really proud of the way we played in both games. The lads gave us everything and we deserved to go into the shoot-out. It was daylight robbery at the end! We’ll bounce back, though, and if we play like that all season we won’t be far away.”

The Coasters now look to another FA competition this weekend – they head to Manchester to face Shaweview in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy.

Fylde: McDonald, Heywood, Jarvis, Steel, Stringfellow (Booth), Mercer, Kay, Parker,Thorpe (Penswick), Allen, Barnes; not used: Unsworth, McNiven, Kusaloka