Ten-man AFC Fylde suffered late heartbreak against Worcester City as they slipped to their first defeat since the turn of the year.
Worcester took the lead after just six minutes through Amadou Bakayoko before the match erupted in to controversy when Josh Langley was shown a straight red card for lashing out at James Smith. Danny Nti converted the resultant penalty to put the visitors into the driving seat.
Goals from Dion Charles and Danny Rowe completed a sensational comeback for the Coasters, however there was to be one final twist as Nti grabbed his second of the game to condemn Dave Challinor’s brave troops to defeat.
Challinor made just one change to the side that beat Eastbourne Borough in the FA Trophy last weekend with Ben Hinchliffe replacing Matt Urwin in goal.
The visitors kicked off in lively fashion and took the lead with the first opportunity of the match. Nti’s strike was spilled by Hinchliffe and Bakayoko was on hand to turn home into an empty goal.
The home side were almost back on level terms five minutes later when Rowe’s clever flick from Richie Baker’s corner kick was just the wrong side of the post.
After a slow start the Coasters began to grow into the match and Charles fired an effort well over the bar from the edge of the box.
Things went from bad to worse on 19 minutes when Fylde were controversially reduced to ten men when Josh Langley was dismissed for a fracas with Jamie Smith. To rub salt in the wounds, Worcester were awarded a penalty which was duly dispatched by Nti.
Sam Finley looked to find a way back into the game but he scuffed his effort after a mazy run.
Fylde did had the ball in the net on 27 minutes, but Charles’ close range strike after the goalkeeper had fumbled Rowe’s curler was ruled out for offside despite replay’s suggesting otherwise.
The visitors looked to add to their tally when Sam Minihan’s cross was headed narrowly over the bar by the well placed Bakayoko.
The Coasters pulled one back shortly after the half-hour mark and it was a goal of real quality. Neat interplay between Caspar Hughes and Charles saw the winger set free on the edge of the box and he smashed a shot across goal that nestled into the bottom corner.
After a lull in play Worcester midfielder Danny Jackman was allowed to race towards the Fylde goal unopposed, however his low strike was palmed around the post by Hinchliffe.
Fylde kicked off the second-half in the ascendancy as they pressed for an equaliser – Finley seeing his powerful shot deflected narrowly over the bar.
Challinor’s side were deservedly back on level terms from the resultant corner when Rowe rose highest to head home from Lloyd’s inswinger.
Lloyd continued to cause the opposition problems and was close with a vicious left footed effort 10 minutes into the second-half.
The Coasters were almost ahead and it would have been a carbon copy of the goal. Lloyd’s corner was again met by the head of Rowe, but this time it was deflected around the post.
Charles almost found a way through on 62 minutes as he stumbled his way past several defenders before seeing his goalbound shot blocked.
Worcester hit back with a rare sight of goal, but George Cleet’s long-range piledriver was just over the bar.
Another corner brought about a chance for the hosts as Tom Hannigan’s looping header was cleared off the line.
Substitute Wade Thomas gave Fylde a scare with 15 minutes to go when he launched an rocket from fully 35 yards that was claimed by Hinchliffe at the second attempt.
There was so nearly a decisive third for the home side when Rowe’s strike was deflected into the path of Baker, who cut the ball back but Charles couldn’t quite turn ball home from six yards.
Fylde continued to knock on the door and a dangerous ball across the goal from Hughes was missed by everyone in the box.
However, there was to be a cruel twist eight minutes from time when Worcester regained the lead. Nti found himself with space in the box and finished into the top corner with aplomb.
The Coasters pushed for an equaliser and Charles was agonisingly close with a whipped effort, but the visitors held on for the points.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, C. Hughes, Hannigan, Langley, Crainey, Wilson (Barnes 35), Finley, Baker, Charles, Lloyd (M. Hughes 75), Rowe.
Subs not used: Urwin, Whittle, Blinkhorn.
Goals: Charles 34, Rowe 49
Worcester City: Ross, Minihan, Weir, Gudger, Cleet (Waldron 79), Nti, Gater, Jackman (Thomas 70), Smith (Burton 50), Donnellan, Bakayoko.
Subs not used: McDonald
Goals Nti 6, Bakayoko 20, Nti 81
Ref: Glen Hart