Match report: AFC Fylde 2 Kidderminster Harriers 2
AFC FYLDE 2
Harriers raced into a two-goal lead before the break but Dan Bradley gave the Coasters hope inside the final 10 minutes before a crazy finale saw three red cards and a 97th minute leveller from substitute Matt Blinkhorn.
Manager Dave Challinor handed a debut to Josh Kay following his loan switch from Barnsley, while James Hardy recovered from injury to secure a place on the bench.
The Harriers created the first real opening in the driving rain as captain Keith Lowe felt aggrieved that he didn’t get a corner when his header flew past the near post.
Rowe was looking dangerous from the off and after a moment of magic, the front man fizzed in a cross that was almost turned into his own net by Ryan Croasdale.
The visitors really should have broken the deadlock 15 minutes in when a ball over the top found Sam Austin in acres of space at the back post but his first time effort was deflected into the side netting by goalkeeper Rhys Taylor.
Taylor pulled off another sensational save soon after when James McQuilkin’s free-kick was nodded goalward by Josh Ezewele but the keeper showed off his reflexes to claw the ball out of the top corner.
A goal was seemingly coming and Kiddy deservedly opened the scoring on 25 minutes.
Elton Ngwatala sold his man on the edge of the penalty area, and when he saw his shot blocked, the ball fell kindly to Croasdale who swept home into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
The momentum was with the visitors and Austin fired narrowly over when well placed.
A second goal duly arrived 10 minutes later when Taylor missed with a punch from McQuilkin’s cross and Lowe had the simple task of blasting into the open goal.
The Coasters came out for the second half with a new lease of life and were on the front foot from the off as Daniels saw his back post header loop into the keeper’s arms.
Fylde had their best chance of the match so far when Rowe squared to Bond on the edge of the box but the he couldn’t generate enough power and his strike was comfortable for Sam Hornby.
The hosts were boosted by the welcome return of Hardy shortly after the hour mark as he came on for his first appearance since January.
Despite plenty of endeavour, chances were still proving hard to come by.
There was almost a moment of embarrassment for Caspar Hughes when his wayward pass back evaded Taylor and trickled agonisingly wide of the far post.
Bradley looked to make a breakthrough at the other end after advancing from the halfway line.
However his eventual strike from distance skipped off the surface and into the goalkeeper’s arms.
The Coasters were certainly starting to knock on the door and Rowe wasn’t far over with a header from Tom Kennedy’s cross.
And all of a sudden it was game on as the Coasters halved the deficit eight minutes from time.
Bradley’s perseverance down the left forced Lowe into a poor back pass and the midfield man latched onto the loose ball, beat his man and fired into the top corner.
Kidderminster were reduced to 10 men with two minutes to play when Ashley Carter’s lunge on Sam Finley was deemed a sending off by referee Steven Copeland.
The referee had more difficult decisions to make when a mass brawl broke out moments later.
After lengthy discussion with his assistants, both Finley and Tyrell Waite were shown red cards in the ensuing melee as the match.
However there was to one final twist in the match and it would send the Coasters fans into delirium.
Kennedy whipped in a cross from left and Blinkhorn, who had only entered the fray moments earlier, rose to nod a fabulous header out of the reach of Hornby into the far corner.