AFC Fylde 1-1 Ebbsfleet
Top scorer Danny Rowe netted a last-gasp equaliser as ten-man AFC Fylde salvaged a point against Ebbsfleet United.
Rowe’s late stunner cancelled out Danny Kedwell’s second-half header to earn a share of the spoils at Mill Farm, despite Sam Finley’s late dismissal.
Manager Dave Challinor made a raft of changes from the side that fell at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy last weekend.
The Coasters were given an early scare when George Edmundson’s tame header back to Jay Lynch was intercepted by Luke Coulson however the goalkeeper was alert to make the save.
Although the match was a seemingly even contest bereft of chances, Ebbsfleet were winning the physical battle and should have taken the lead midway through the half. After losing the ball on the counter-attack, Fylde were put under pressure three-on-two by the visitors, however Kedwell’s eventual left-footed strike from inside the area was comfortable for Lynch.
Straight up at the other end, Rowe was a whisker away from putting the hosts ahead. The frontman received the ball to the left of the box before turning once, twice, three times before lashing a strike across goal and wide.
Young starlet Serhat Tasdemir was looking dangerous in the early stages and could have given Fylde the advantage shortly before the break when he weaved past two defenders on the edge of the box before seeing his effort blocked by a third.
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon was then left reeling as his forward Kedwell crashed a first-time strike narrowly wide of the far post when well placed.
The visitors picked up where they left off after the restart as Jack Powell tested Lynch with a powerful free-kick from 20 yards.
Fylde put together their best move of the match soon after when Francis-Angol, Bond and Montrose combined – the latter putting in a telling cross that was well cleared on the six yard line.
The Coasters went closer still seconds later when Edmundson’s clever flick found Jack Muldoon unmarked inside the six yard box, however his shot on the turn was somehow kept out on the line.
Despite a spell of dominance for the home side, it was the visitors that took the initiative and broke the deadlock. An inswinging cross from the left was glanced out of the reach of Lynch at the near post.
Fylde were struggling to get a foot on the ball but almost got a lucky break when Rowe’s fierce drive from 25 yards looped up off a defender and dropped just over the bar.
Fleet midfielder Andy Drury should have done better when he was expertly found by Sam Magri on the edge of the area but he ballooned his attempt well over.
Powell went close to bagging a fortunate second for Ebbsfleet when his corner evaded the crowed of bodies gathered inside the box and flew just wide of the far post.
However, there was to be salvation for the hosts at the last as the reliable Rowe struck. Edmundson’s header across goal was nodded clear but fell to Rowe 20 yards out and he stuck his volley low and hard into the bottom corner.
The afternoon turned sour for midfielder Finley in the final minute when he was showed a second yellow for a rash challenge.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Richards, Tunnicliffe, Edmundson, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond (Blinkhorn 59), Finley, Muldoon (Mangan 66), Tasdemir (Grand 80), Rowe.
Subs not used:
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Magri, Rance, Winfield, Clark (Bush 46), Connors, Powell, Drury, Weston (Shields 76), Coulson, Kedwell.
Subs not used: McCoy, McLean, Miles.
Referee: Ryan Johnson