Chester 20 Fylde RFC 20: Honours even on final away day

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Fylde fought back for their first draw of the season in this last away trip of 2021/22 campaign.
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Greg Smith stepped up to kick a 75th-minute penalty and tie the contest for a Fylde side down to 13 players at the time for disciplinary reasons.

A game that was more frenetic than fluent had seen both teams struggle to impose themselves and the draw was fair.

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Chester on the attack against FyldeChester on the attack against Fylde
Chester on the attack against Fylde

Fylde’s preparations were hampered by injury, illness and unavailability. With Tom Carleton and Harlan Corrie unavailable, Ben Turner slotted in at full-back and Charlie Partington in the back row. A late change saw Adam Lanigan start, out of position on the wing, as Henry Hadfield had an ankle problem. Despite a severe tonsil infection, captain Ben Gregory remained an ever-present for Fylde.

The 4G pitch providing an excellent playing surface and Chester dominated the first 15 minutes, pinning Fylde in their own 22 and forcing two drop-outs.

Fylde held firm and then produced a moment of class with their first real attack.

After a line-out catch by Olli Parkinson, who had a fine game, Lanigan came in off his wing and sent Tom Grimes clear for an unconverted try against the run of play.

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Chester’s Wade Ward was yellow-carded for an offside offence as was Fylde's Matt Garrod for pulling down a maul.

The hosts made their extra man count as hooker Scott Robson scored from a catch-and-drive. The goal was missed but the scores were level.

Fylde were made to pay again as full-back Gethin Long collected a crossfield kick, cut inside and touched down to give Chester a 10-5 half-time lead.

Fylde introduced Alex Clayton and Marcus Blake, and started the second half much better, with some controlled phases of possession.

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Four minutes in, Dave Fairbrother’s deft overhead offload put Scott Rawlings in for a try. The sequence of missed kicks continued and the teams were all square again.

Alex Clayton's delayed pass on 63 minutes created space for Turner to score and Smith finally found his range from wide out to give Fylde a 17-10 lead.

But a disastrous 10 minutes followed for Fylde as Garrod's second yellow card of the day was upgraded to red and Tom Scott's penalty cut the gap to four points.

Two minutes later it was Lanigan trotting off to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock on. From the penalty to touch, Chester's Josh Woods powered over from a driving maul and Scott's goal left the hosts 20-17 up.

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Fylde were in disarray and would be down to 13 for all but the closing seconds of the game.

To their credit, they regained their composure and set about engineering a chance to salvage something.

That chance came on 75 minutes, when Fylde's patience and accuracy forced three penalties in a row.

The last of these was in Smith's range and he duly restored parity. Fairbrother was yet again named man of the match for Fylde, who passed 1,000 points for the season.

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Stourbridge's win over Luctonians means they will finish fourth in National Two North and Fylde fifth.

Fylde: Turner, Lanigan, Forster (Clayton), Rawlings, Grimes, Smith, Sturgess, Barrow (Kyle-Clay), Gregory (Parker), Ashcroft (Lewis), Parkinson, Garrod, O’Ryan (Blake), Partington, Fairbrother.