AFC Fylde 2-1 Guiseley
Danny Rowe’s stunning late strike sealed a deserved 2-1 victory for play-off chasing AFC Fylde.
Guiseley’s James Roberts thought he had earned a point after cancelling out Jonny Smith’s neat opener, however Rowe’s 30-yard free-kick two minutes from time lifted Fylde to within three points of the promotion places.
Sam Stubbs was handed his full debut as Dave Challinor made three changes with Andy Bond returning in midfield and Luke Burke in at right-back following the departure of Jordan Richards.
However, it was the opposite full-back that almost made the breakthrough inside three minutes. Andy Bond sent Zaine Francis-Angol racing through on goal but the 23-year-old took the ball too wide and his eventual strike was well smothered by Joseph Green in the Guiseley goal.
Danny Rowe took aim with a speculative effort two minutes later that was awkwardly turned around the post by Green.
Bond created another glorious chance to put the Coasters ahead when Jonny Smith latched on to his looped ball over the top and although the winger beat a hesitant Green to ball, his shot flashed wide of the far post
The on-loan star wasn’t to be denied for long and made the breakthrough on 18 minutes. A long ball from Jordan Tunnicliffe was flicked on and Smith nipped in between the two centre-halves before slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Coasters went in search of a quick double when Sam Finley exchanged passes with Smith before seeing his effort from ten yards palmed away by Green.
After a lull in play, Guiseley hit back with an equaliser out of the blue. A deep cross in from the right found the unmarked James Roberts who couldn’t miss with a header from close range.
Despite the leveller, Challinor’s side kept their foot on the gas and Smith was agonisingly close to a second with a curling effort that whistled past the far post.
Guiseley had themselves woken up to an extent and Roberts tested Jay Lynch with a stringing drive from 25 yards that was pushed clear by the Coasters’ stopper.
Wigan loanee Stubbs nearly made the perfect start to his Fylde career when a long free-kick was dropped by Green, but the towering defender could only poke his shot over the bar.
The Coasters were enjoying early success down the right after the restart with Burke and Smith causing havoc, the two combining on one such occasion only for Smith to fluff his lines just inside the area.
Guiseley fashioned a rare opportunity and Southwell was inches from reaching Sheppard’s low cross into the six yard box and marking his Lions’ debut with a goal.
Smith was proving a constant menace to the visitors’ backline and was unlucky to see his snapshot from Bond’s knock down blocked on its way to goal.
Lynch pulled off the save of the afternoon on the hour when the powerful Rowan Liburd held off his man before smashing a shot at the Fylde goal that was remarkably kept out by the forearm of the in-form keeper.
Rowe looked certain to score and latching onto Smith’s cut back, however his first second and third attempts were all somehow all blocked by last ditch challenges
Francis-Angol should have given the Coasters a deserved lead seconds later when Smith picked out the over-lapping left-back who saw his right-footed strike deflected a foot wide of the far post.
The chances kept on coming for the hosts. Substitute Callum Chettle set the Coasters on the counter with a driving run forward before playing in Smith down the left who was desperately close to picking out Bond who had burst into the six yard box.
The opportunities at the other end of the pitch were few and far between. Defender Chris M’Boungou had a half-chance with just over 15 minutes to play but his flicked header was high and wide.
Rowe looked determined to add to his 14 goals for the season as he lashed a sweetly-struck half volley just past Green’s upright from 25 yards.
The dangerman was getting closer with each passing minute and could only watch on is disbelief as his close-range header looped over the keeper and against the crossbar.
However, just two minutes from time the seemingly inevitable goal arrived. After being brought down 30 yards from goal, Rowe dusted himself down before crashing the free-kick beyond the despairing clutches of Green.
Southwell almost nicked a point for the visitors at the death, however Lynch pulled off another fabulous save to keep out the frontman’s curling effort.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke (Chettle 68), Tunnicliffe, Stubbs, Grand, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Finley (Taylor 90), Smith (Muldoon 73), Rowe.
Subs not used: Tasdemir, Blinkhorn
Guiseley: Green, Palmer, Purver, M’Boungou, Liburd (Fondop 79), Harvey, Hughes (Odeyayi 90), Crookes, Roberts (McFadzean 62), Sheppard, Southwell.
Subs not used: Brown, Lenighan.
Ref: Joe Hull