Match report and reaction: AFC Fylde 1 Chester 1
Fylde couldn't hold on for a fourth successive win but continued their unbeaten start to 2018 with this season's second 1-1 draw against Chester.
Danny Rowe flicked home his 14th National League goal of the season in the second half but an error at the back allowed Harry White to send Chester home with a share of the spoils. Manager Dave Challinor made just one change from the side that won at Bromley at the weekend, with Sam Finley replacing Andy Bond in the centre of the park, having served his two-match suspension.The hosts started brightly in bitterly cold conditions at Mill Farm as top scorer Rowe saw a curling effort deflected around the post before narrowly losing out to goalkeeper Sam Hornby in a foot race to Jordan Richards’ teasing ball.The hosts were certainly on top in the opening stages and Jonny Smith was agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock with a rasping drive from the edge of the area that kissed the foot of the post.A training ground corner routine from Chester picked out centre-half Jordan Gough on the edge of the box but he headed well over.James Jones had a great chance from eight yards but his tame effort was gathered with ease by Coasters keeper Jay Lynch.Fylde almost pulled off a clever corner of their own when Smith’s quick thinking found home debutant Callum Chettle in acres of space in the box but his touch let him down and Jordan Tunnicliffe lashed over in the aftermath. Full-back Richards took aim with an ambitious strike from fully 35 yards that took Hornby by surprise and the keeper needed a second attempt to prevent a corner.Midfielder Lewis Montrose glanced a header narrowly wide from Smith’s deep cross as the clocked ticked down to half-time. The visitors fashioned their best chance so far moments after the break, when a drilled corner from the right found captain Ryan Astles unmarked in the centre but his volley from close range was straight down the throat of Lynch.Finley managed to outmuscle Astles – twice the midfielder’s size – and sent Smith racing clear but his shot from the angle was well held by Hornby.After a spell of pressure from Chester, it was the Coasters who made the breakthrough on 55 minutes.Chettle delivered a delicious cross in from the left and Rowe needed just the faintest of touches on the six-yard line to guide the ball into the far corner and again become the league’s top scorer outright. The goal seemed to kick-start the hosts and only a fingertip save from Hornby denied Rowe a spectacular second moments later.The visitors were gifted a way back into the game on 68 minutes, when Simon Grand’s mistimed header back to Lynch was intercepted by substitute Ross Hannah. The keeper did tremendously well to save at the feet of the forward but the loose ball fell kindly to White, who hammered his first-time strike into the open goal.Fylde almost made an immediate reply when Rowe neatly slipped in substitute Serhat Tasdemir, who raced away before seeing his clean strike palmed away by Hornby.Richards was providing a threat down the right and did well to burst into the Chester box only to slice his eventual shot wide.It was one-way traffic as the match edged towards its conclusion and Tasdemir almost won it for the hosts in added time, when his curling effort from the left floated over the stranded goalkeeper before skimming off the roof of the net.
A frustrated Dave Challinor branded his Fylde side’s performance last night their worst of the season as they failed to maintain their winning streak against relegation-threatened Chester.The Coasters boss said: “It doesn’t matter who you are playing against or where they are in the league - at the end of the day we haven’t won and that’s always disappointing.“It was a frustrating evening and probably our worst performance of the season. We were lacklustre but we managed to get ourselves ahead. “If we had won the game 1-0 and put in the same performance, then I still wouldn’t have been happy but the result is the most important thing.“We got on to the front foot and from that point they would have had to produce something decent to score. We didn’t make them do that.“We knew if we could keep a clean sheet we would probably win the game but we have made a shocking error. “We gave them a goal that has ended up costing us two points.“People make mistakes but we had to do the basics well and not take risks, especially when it was only 1-0."
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Richards, Grand, Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Chettle (Bond 73), Smith (Tasdemir 63), Muldoon (Blinkhorn 79), Rowe.Subs not used: Burke, Stubbs.
Chester: Hornby, Kingsley, Astles, Turnbull (Hannah 61), White, Dawson, Jones, Akintunde, Shaw, Halls-Johnson, Gough.Subs not used: Lynch, Mahon, Crawford, Roberts.Ref: Karl EvansAtt: 1,531