Below-par Fylde steal it at the death
Fylde 19, Wharfedale 15
On the day of the William Shakespeare celebration, it was a case of 'all's well that as ends well' as the home side pulled off a dramatic late win, one that was not in any kind of script, that's for certainAnd it was earned after a 'comedy of errors' style performance in the first half when Fylde were as bad as they had been in many a long day, out-played by a Wharfedale side already doomed to relegation from National League One.Fylde trailed 12-0 at half-time and it could have been worse, much worse, as they did little right - in fact, it was almost embarrassing to watch, such was the ineptitude on show.It looked all up for Fylde as late as the 75th minute when they trailed 15-5, but two late converted tries by Evan Stewart and Oli Brennand saved the day, though whether they deserved it was a moot point,certainly if you were born on the 'wrong' side of the Pennines!, Fylde put on a much improved performance in the second half - let's face it, it could not have got much worse.After the break, little was seen of Wharfedale as any kind of attacking force, and for a time it looked like Fylde were determined to squander any chances they got.That was until the two, late face-saving tries, which prevented Fylde from finishing their home campaign completely red-faced.Player-coach Paul Arnold halued himself off the bench for the second half, clearly when a hands-on approach was needed and they did improve for his presence and ball-skills.Credit were it is due for Fylde to keep going as they did, but the performance as a whole left serious questions as to how the club would fare next season if they allow standards to slip like this on a regular basis.After a sluggish start, the action sparked into life on 11 minutes.Wharfedale turned the screw, forcing Fylde into giving away a succession of penalties near their own line.The offences led to Mark Goodman being yellow-carded, leaving the home side short of a player, and the visitors took advantage, winger Oli Ciocgnini dodging his way through the depleted Fylde ranks to touch down. Jamie Guy added the goal points.Wharfedale continued on the front foot as Fylde struggled to get going and a promising move by the Yorkshire side ended, to the home team's relief, with the ball thrown wildly into touch.Fylde's response was an eye-catching run by Scott Rawlings as he made ground in bull-dozing style - a penalty accrued from the next phase of play but they couldn't do anything with it.Fylde bucked their ideas up on the half-hour - and about time too - as Scott Rawlings, Sam Bedlow and Stewart probed deep into the heart of Wharfedale as they sought a much-needed equalising score.Scott Rawlings then knocked on as he tried to grasp Bedlow's off-load after a scrum near the visitors' line.Fylde had a scare on 36 minutes when attack suddenly turned to desperate defence.Wharfedale fly-hafl Guy intercepted Bedlow's pass and kicked ahead.Fortunately for Fylde winger Jordan Dorrington showed the superior pace to win the chase back to the line.It was a let-off but symptomatic of a distinctly downbeat and dispiriting display by Fylde in the opening half when they were clear second-best - worryingly by a long way.Dorrington executed a promising break through the middle, but was hurt in a pincer-movement tackle and had to be carried from the field, Anthony Bingham taking over.As half-time apprpoached, Danny Maher won a strike against the head to set up an attacking platform, but they proceeded to mess that up and the ball was eventually spilled.There were eight minutes of stoppage-time - and time enough for Wharfedale to score again.Several minutes of Wharfedale pounding away saw the Fylde line finally breached as centre Cameron Hudson grounded the ball for a try - the conversion attempt by Guy struck the woordwork.Wharfedale led 12-0 at the break after what was an endurance-test of a performance by Fylde.They needed some momentum at the start of the second half and though they attacked strongly in the opening minutes, sloppy handling let them down.Tom Morton got in a good position as Wharfedale found themselves in full retreat, but he delayed his pass to the outside for too long and another opportunity went begging.Fylde got the breakthrough they sorely needed on 57 minutes, the team's two speed merchants combining to full effect.Oli Brennand produced the first break before shifting the ball to Bingham, who arrowed through a narrow gap along the right wing and then skirted inside to touch down nearer to the posts.However, it was to no avail as Morton was well awry with a poor conversion attempt (5-12).Wharfedale went back two scores in front on 62 minutes when Guy slotted over a penalty (5-15)Play switched quickly to the other end, and Arnold was bundled into touch close to the Wharfedale line.Brennand tried to skip through down the same channel, but he too was halted and manoeuvred off the field by last-ditch tackles.On 75 minutes Fylde at last gave themselves some hope when after a period of sustained attack, Arnold handed the ball on to Evan Stewart, who had a virtual walk-in try between the posts, goaled by Scott Rawlings (12-15).With two minutes left, Fylde looked to have pulled the match out of the fire when more bouts of attacking play saw the home side attack in waves and it ended with Brennand squeezing over near the posts, Scott Rawlings converting (19-15).That dramatic denouement settled it for Fylde.There were several flaws on display throughout the afternoon, but lack of commitment was not one of them.The relief and joy at the end was clear for all to see - and this end-of-season affair could never be labelled 'much ado about nothing'.Fylde: Briers, Dorrington,Bedlow, S Rawlings, Brennand; Morton, Nicholls; Wild, Maher, Lewis, Garrod, Gray, Goodman, Stewart, G Rawlings. Replacements: Griffiths, Arnold, Bingham, Wilkinson, Gregory.