Off-target Coasters are held again

AFC Fylde man of the match Tom Hannigan
AFC Fylde man of the match Tom Hannigan
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Gainsborough Trinity 0, AFC Fylde 0

Neither team were able to take their chances at Northolme Stadium as Fylde had to settle for a second successive draw against struggling opposition.

At least the second-placed Coasters lost no ground in the title race, with leaders Barrow also held to a goalless draw at home to Bradford Park Avenue, who host Fylde on Saturday.

Both Josh Langley and Tom Hannigan hit the bar in the closing stages of the first half but that’s as close as the visitors came to scoring a goal which would have taken them back to the top.

Gainsborough had lost three of their previous four matches and had been beaten twice by the Coasters this season at Kellamergh Park, though both sides had plenty of chances on Saturday.

Fylde’s Danny Rowe had a number of efforts but none of them really tested Trinity keeper Rory Watson, who saw shots galore fly past both of his posts.

Fylde started brightly enough, Josh Wilson firing the first shot at goal after a couple of minutes but it was well held by Watson.

Rowe then produced a magnificent bit of skill as he manoeuvred the ball around several Gainsborough defenders before firing in a 30-yard shot, which bounced before Watson smothered the ball at the first attempt.

The striker then went close for a second time in as many minutes, though his second shot from outside the box had the same outcome as his first.

Paul Beesley and Stephen Brogan managed to get in behind the Coasters defence but a reliable back four, in which Hannigan was outstanding, thwarted their attempts.

Liam Davis tried his luck from 25 yards for the home side after some good build-up play but Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe was more than equal to the shot.

Rowe then tried again on the turn from 25 yards out but his effort sailed over the bar, then midfielder Richie Baker tried his luck from a similar position but fired well wide.

The best chance of the first half fell to Trinity’s Stephen Brogan, who went clean through on goal after 20 minutes and advanced into the box only to shoot out of the stadium. Five minutes before the break, Hannigan connected excellently with Baker’s corner but his header cannoned off the bar.

Josh Wilson shot just wide from long-range , then just before the half-time whistle Lloyd’s corner’s was met by Langley and his header, just like Hannigan’s, hit the bar.

After the break, good early play by the Coasters resulted in a corner from which the ball eventually found its way to Rowe, who headed just wide of the left post.

A huge kick downfield then evaded the entire Fylde defence and put Brogan through again. This time he shot on target but Hinchliffe got down well to block at the near post.

The industrious Rowe then played a fine through-ball to Allen in the box but his shot was cleared off the line by Gainsborough left-back Josh Lacey.

Brad Barnes’ 25-yard rasper then sailed just wide of the right post and the Coasters were on top going into the last 20 minutes.

They won a free-kick 25 yards out but Rowe’s attempt found only the back of the stand.

A minute later, Trinity won a free-kick from similar range and Brogan’s shot ricocheted off the wall for a corner.

Rowe went very close to winning it for the coasters with just a couple of minutes left as his goalbound shot took a late deflection for a corner.

Substitute Chris Hamilton should have won it for the home side as he raced through on goal but he dragged his left-foot shot just wide.

The big movers in the promotion chase were Chorley, who jumped to fourth with a 6-0 hammering of fellow play-off contenders Tamworth