AFC Fylde rounded off their pre-season with a decent display over Bamber Bridge but couldn’t quite secure the victory over their spirited neighbours.
Dion Charles scored the only goal of the first half to give The Coasters a 1-0 lead at the break but Alistair Waddecar cancelled that out six minutes into the second period.
Matt Blinkhorn restored Fylde’s lead on 84 minutes but Waddecar made sure the spoils were shared with his second of the match two minutes from time.
Fylde dominated the first half exchanges and were unlucky not to take the lead earlier through two decent efforts from triallist striker Danny Rowe. But they finally breached the Brig defence from a corner on 13 minutes – Tom Hannigan headed the cross towards the goal where Charles was on hand to nudge it over the line with his own head from three yards.
Three minutes later Rowe almost added a second after controlling the ball brilliantly on the edge of the box allowing him to turn and send a powerful shot at goal which Brig keeper Lee Dovey had to parry away rather than catch.
Fylde were controlling the ball well and creating plenty of chances, which is pleasing to see just a week before the new season, and the best of those fell to Michael Barnes on 28 minutes.
Rowe played a great through ball between two defenders allowing the Fylde winger to race onto it and shoot first time but again Dovey was on hand to parry the shot away low to his right.
Dovey was keeping his side in the game in the first half as he denied Rowe for a third time with another excellent save.
The second half was a completely different story as the home side came out strong, took the game to Fylde and had their rewards on 51 minutes when Brig capitalised on a poor back pass from Jake Gregory and within seconds Waddecar had the ball in the back of the net.
They almost took the lead two minutes later but former Fylde striker Andy Bell could only fire over the bar after some good passing movement from the Evo-Stik Division One North side.
And Ben Hinchliffe was on hand to keep the scores level a minute later when he saved on his line after a goal mouth scramble which saw the ball fired towards his goal.
After the usual influx of second half substitutes from both sides midway through the second period, the game burst into life in the final ten minutes again. Fylde restored their lead through Blinkhorn’s close range strike but Waddecar had the final say when he converted his second four minutes later to snatch a well-earned draw.
“As happy I was with the first half, I was disappointed with the second” manager Dave Challinor said after the game. “Yes, we had some injuries to key players in key areas of the pitch which meant people having to go into unfamiliar positions but that still doesn’t change our principles and what I expect from players.”
Looking ahead to next weekend and the big kick off against Brackley Town, Challinor added: “The games are now out of the way and in essence the hard work begins now. Players will be given a lot of information this week and they will have to take things on board, digest it and produce what we’re after.
“I pretty much know what my starting 11 will be going into the game next weekend providing the ones with knocks recover. We may look to bolster what we have defensively as we’ve three of the five we have carrying some kind of niggle which leaves us a bit thin on the ground.
“Fingers crossed they’ll be ok and if they are I’m very positive that we can compete in the division.”
That game against Brackley will be AFC Fylde’s historical first ever game in the Vanarama Conference North so make sure you come along to Kellamergh Park to show your support for the lads as they embark on another exciting adventure. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Bamber Bridge: 1 Dovey, 2 M. Mahoney, 3 Bowyer, 4 Atherton [57) 16 Lawler], 5 Doughty, 6 Kay (C), 7 Waddecar, 8 Thompson, 9 Bell [84) 15 Buchan], 10 C. Mahoney [46) 14 Johnstone], 11 Marlow [64) 17 Marlow]; Subs not used: 12 Vasey.
GOALS: Waddecar (51, 88)
AFC Fylde: 1 Hinchliffe, 2 Hughes [46) 18 Gregory; 78) 17 Mullen], 3 Sumner, 4 Langley, 5 Hannigan [22) 16 B. Barnes], 6 Tomsett, 7 Charles [78) 14 Thomas], 8 Booth (C) [64) 12 Potts], 9 Rowe, 10 M. Barnes [85) 19 Charnley], 11 Noon [64) 15 Blinkhorn]; All subs used.
GOALS: Charles (13), Blinkhorn (84)