AFC Fylde 2 Gainsborough Trinity 2
Fylde came back from two goals down and almost snatched a victory in this sunbaked FA Cup second qualifying round tie at Kellamergh Park.
The Coasters would have been forgiven for thinking about damage limitation when the visitors, who play two divisions about them in Blue Square Bet North, led 2-0 after only 22 minutes thanks to goals from Ryan Kendall and Darren Stamp.
But Michael Barnes pulled one back for the Coasters six minutes before half-time and then a dominant second-half display saw Ritchie Allen equalise on 63 minutes.
And it took some excellent goalkeeping from Trinity’s Andrew Pettinger, aided by the woodwork, to deny Fylde the win.
It means both teams will enter today’s third qualifying-round draw ahead of the replay in Lincolnshire tomorrow (7.45pm). Fylde know all about winning ties at the second attempt following their success against AFC Blackpool and Chorley in the previous rounds
Trinity took the lead after 16 minutes, when Kendall beat onrushing Fylde keeper Danny McDonald to a throug-ball from midfield and slotted into the bottom right corner.
Six minutes later, Trinity were two up. Kendall forced a good save from McDonald but defender Mick Stringfellow was caught dallying with the ball in the box. Stamp stole the ball from him and duly struck it into the back of the net.
Trinity’s Lewis McMahon was controlling play in the centre until substitution by Fylde, with Matty Kay replacing the injured Warren Beattie, recharged the Coasters who began to get a foothold in the game.
Lee Thorpe saw his effort hit the post on 35 minutes and Keigan Parker forced a great save from Pettinger three minutes later.
And within a minute, Barnes found a gap in the defence and fired in from the edge of the area to pull one back.
It was all Fylde in the second half, with Ricky Mercer’s header palmed over five minutes after the restart.
And with Thorpe winning the high balls and linking well with both Barnes and Allen, Fylde had were good value for their equaliser.
Allen ran on to Thorpe’s beautiful ball through the defence and shot past the oncoming keeper.
With the visitors reduced to the odd potshot, Pettinger had to be at his best to deny Fylde a deserved victory.
Parker and Thorpe were both denied by fantastic saves, then in stoppage time Parker saw his shot hit the post only for the rebound to be cleared.
Kendall then had a chance to win the game for Trinity, when he was played through one-on-one with McDonald but sent his shot way over the bar.
Fylde manager Kelham O’Hanlon was full of praise for his side, saying: “At half-time I would have settled for the draw but by full-time I was a bit disappointed we didn’t actually win it.
“We showed them too much respect early on, but when we got the ball down and played I thought we were excellent. I’m proud of them for that.”
Trinity manager Steve Housham shared the dugout with his chairman Peter Swann, who owns Blackpool nightspot The Sands Venue.
Housham said: “I thought we are lucky to still be in the FA Cup. We went 2-0 up and we were playing some good stuff, but after that there was only one really one team in it. We need to improve on that showing on Tuesday night.”
Fylde: McDonald, Heywood, Jarvis, Stringfellow, Steel, Mercer, Beattie (Kay 32), Parker, Thorpe, Barnes, Allen; not used: Booth, Unsworth, Penswick, McNiven, Nolan, Kusaloka.