MATCH REPORT: AFC Fylde 1-1 Blackpool
Nathan Delfouneso's last-minute leveller spared Blackpool's blushes as they laboured to a draw against their Fylde coast neighbours.
The Seasiders had been outplayed for much of the game and looked to be heading for a defeat courtesy of Danny Rowe’s fourth-minute effort.
Dave Challinor’s men limited Pool to very few clear-cut chances on goal and they could, and perhaps should have extended their lead further.
But Pool kept their undefeated pre-season record in as Delfouneso slammed home a close-range effort in the final moments of the game.
The home side made a bright start to proceedings, forcing an early corner which - although originally cleared - eventually found its way to dangerman Danny Rowe who skewed a snapshot well wide of goal.
While the effort didn’t seriously threaten the Blackpool goal, it was an early warning to the Seasiders which they obviously didn’t heed.
Just two minutes later, Rowe handed Fylde the lead as he took advantage of the space afforded to him to cut inside his man and lash home at the near post.
The home side almost doubled their lead on eight minutes when Pool failed to deal with another corner, this time Joe Cardle seeing a low shot blocked after the Seasiders had failed to clear their lines.
It’s fair to say it took a while for Blackpool to get going, with 25 minutes on the clock before their first effort on goal.
When it came, Russell Griffiths was unmoved as Curtis Tilt headed straight at him in the Fylde goal. Armand Gnanduillet produced a similar headed effort, although this one took a slight deflection, but again Griffiths collected comfortably.
Bowyer’s men did slowly but surely grow into the game, but their control of possession didn’t produce any meaningful chances of goal - with set pieces looking like the only route back.
With 10 minutes to go until the break, Pool created their clearest chance of the half when Joe Dodoo forced a strong save out of Griffiths after being played in by Nathan Delfouneso. The rebound fell kindly to Gnanduillet but, with a tap in seemingly on the cards, a Fylde defender recovered to clear away at the last second.
Pool began to gain the upperhand and forced an opening for Tilt from a free-kick, but the Fylde back line did well to close down his shot.
A mix up at the back for Blackpool almost saw the hosts claim a second just before the interval, with James Hardy’s back post header almost inadvertently finding its way into the bottom corner after Tilt and Howard both opted to leave the ball, although Howard did eventually claim.
Pool put themselves under pressure just moments into the second half when they conceded a needless free kick just outside their own box, but Rowe could only drill wide after his original attempt was blocked by the wall.
In response they forced a couple of corners, the second of which Ben Heneghan headed over the bar.
But they were lucky to escape at the other end when the impressive Cardle provided a pinpoint cross to Ryan Croasdale who only just missed the target with his header.
Pool were presented with a dangerous dead ball situation when Bunney was brought down on the edge of the box, but half-time sub Chris Taylor saw his effort deflected out for a corner.
Full back Zaine Francis-Angol also went close for the Coasters, drilling wide of the far post after combining well with former Pool man Danny Philliskirk.
The game appeared to be fizzling out as both sides made a number of changes, but Pool got a late leveller they barely deserved when Delfouneso side footed home from Marc Bola's cross.
AFC Fylde: Griffiths, Montrose (Bond), Francis-Angol, Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Hardy (Hemmings), Croasdale, Cardle (Tasdemir), Burke, Philliskirk (Trialist), Rowe (Trialist)
Subs not used: Lynch, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Hassall, Stanley, Gray, Leitch
Blackpool: Howard, Turton, Heneghan, Tilt, Bunney (Bola), Spearing, Thompson (O’Connor), McLaughlin (O’Sullivan), Dodoo (Pritchard), Delfouneso, Gnanduillet (Taylor)
Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Nottingham