AFC Fylde slipped to heartbreaking Play-Off defeat at Boreham Wood in their debut season in the National League.
A nightmare opening 20 minutes proved costly for the Coasters as both Jamie Turley and Bruno Andrade headed home unchallenged and although Simon Grand pulled one back before the break, the all-important equaliser was elusive.
Manager Dave Challinor made two changes to the side that secured their place in the play-offs at Wrexham on Saturday, one enforced, with the suspended Luke Burke replaced by Jake Lawlor and James Hardy dropping to the bench in place of Jack Muldoon.
The hosts flew out of the traps and whilst Fylde managed to scramble a clearance away inside two minutes made, it way out wide to Michael Folivi however the frontman slipped as he went to pull the trigger.
Boreham Wood made their early dominance pay after just six minutes. Andrade won a corner down the left before whipping in himself and finding Turley, who powered home virtually unmarked.
Turley went close to grabbing a second soon after when another set-piece found him relatively open at the back post although this time his curled effort was narrowly wide of the post.
Fylde were struggling to cope with balls into the box and yet another free-kick into danger area was poked just wide by Angelo Balanta.
It was becoming strikingly obvious where the Wood threat was coming from and unsurprisingly the home side doubled their advantage in similar fashion. Folivi sent a cross into the far post where Andrade rose above Grand and looped a stunning header over Jay Lynch into the opposite corner.
It had taken until midway through the half, but the Coasters had started to get a foothold in the game and Montrose was agonisingly close to halving the deficit when he glanced Finley’s set-piece narrowly wide of the near post.
National League Player of the Year Danny Rowe had his first sight of goal on the half-hour when his rasping drive was deflected around the post and the resultant corner was set to send the Fylde fans wild.
Finley’s deep outswinger was headed goalwards by the unmarked Montrose, not once but twice, before finally being headed into the roof of the net by Grand.
The momentum had turned well in Fylde’s favour and goalkeeper Grant Smith had to get down quickly at his near post to deny Muldoon on the turn.
It was all Fylde as half-time approached with David Stephens in the right place to head Montrose’s first time strike off the line.
The half-time whistle came at the wrong time for the Coasters, allowing the home side to regain their authority after the break.
The visitors rode the storm and looked dangerous on the counter, almost drawing level amid an almighty goalmouth scramble that just wouldn’t drop to an orange shirt.
Boreham Wood left-back Danny Woodards launched one in anger from distance that disappeared into the centre of London as the hosts looked to pull further ahead.
Much like the opening half, the chances were coming thick and fast as Lawlor lashed an effort from 10 yards a whisker over the bar from Finley’s right-wing corner.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the net shortly after the hour when Jonny Smith was sent racing away before tucking his strike beneath Smith, however the linesman wrongly flagged for offside.
Fylde put together one of their best moves of the evening when Muldoon broke through the centre before shifting the ball out wide to Hardy, who in turn slipped in Rowe, however the forward saw his shot from the angle blocked by a last ditch sliding challenge.
The hosts should have put the result to bed ten minutes from time when Lynch hacked down Andrade on his was to goal. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot but the Fylde stopper was to instantly redeem himself, sensationally palming away Andrade’s penalty kick.
Such a pivotal moment spurred the Coasters into life and Finley tested Smith with a stinging drive from fully 30 yards.
Matt Blinkhorn was introduced late on as Dave Challinor was forced into a route one style and the target-man glanced a header wide as seven minutes of added time were held up by the fourth official.
Rowe had the chance to make himself the hero in the dying moments when his side were awarded a free-kick in the danger man’s territory, and although he hit it well, the ball sailed a foot wide of the post.
Boreham Wood: G. Smith, K. Smith (Shakes 45), Woodards, Ricketts, Stephens, Champion, Murtagh, Andrade, Turley, Balanta, Folivi (Quigley 87)
Subs not used: Doe, Davey.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Lawlor, Grand (Hardy 63), Francis-Angol, Montrose (Jones 77), Finley, Muldoon, Smith (Blinkhorn 81), Rowe.
Subs not used: Taylor, Stubbs.
Ref: J Johnson.
Att: 1,244 (Away 136)