AFC Fylde face another replay in the 22/23 FA Cup after a 1-1 draw against Gillingham at Mill Farm on Saturday afternoon.
Gillingham looked as though they would progress into the Second Round of the competition after Mikael Mandron volleyed into the back of the net from a Will Wright free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
However, the fighting spirit that the Coasters show time and time again shone through once again after Danny Rowe’s cross to the back post was met sweetly by Tom Walker, who guided home from an acute angle to set up a replay at Priestfield.
Andy Taylor made three changes to the side that earned a late victory over Peterborough Sports, with Emeka Obi, Tom Walker & Danny Philliskirk replacing Joe Rowley, Danny Whitehead & Harvey Gregson in the starting line-up.
An early sighter in the tie came the way of the Coasters, who started the brighter of the two sides, and that led to Nick Haughton beating his man in the final third to unleash a left-footed strike at goal, which zipped off the wet surface and wide.
Gillingham were always going to have chances throughout the clash, and a couple followed in quick succession, with Robbie McKenzie’s fierce volley at goal blocked before Ryan Law’s dangerous ball across the face of goal was diverted away from danger and away from Mikael Mandron by Chris Neal.
The Coasters grew back into it after a little spell for the visitors, and after a well-worked throw-in, the ball fell to Danny Philliskirk on the edge of the area, who took one touch and drove a shot just wide.
As the game went on, it fell quiet in terms of chances, but the next opportunity fell the visitors’ way through Hakeeb Adelakun, who picked the ball up, raced towards goal but found the hands of Neal from range.
However, a sucker punch was dealt the Coasters’ way when after Pierce Bird conceded a free-kick on the far right, Will Wright found Mikael Mandron at the back post, who turned in from close range.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde 0-1 Gillingham FC
Following the goal before the break, the second half started quietly – however, some nice Coasters play allowed Luke Conlan to cross towards Tom Walker, who rose highest to meet, though he couldn’t direct his header goalwards.
Gillingham were reminded that they were in a game at Mill Farm, with Fylde pressing hard for an equaliser. This time, a corner by Nick Haughton found Emeka Obi at the back post, where he met powerfully to force Glen Morris into a point-blank range save.
There were appeals for a penalty from the Coasters when Luke Charman was pulled down in the area, but the referee had none of it and awarded a goal kick.
With their first opportunity of the half, substitute, Scott Kashket, managed to wriggle free from Alex Whitmore and curl towards the bottom right corner, with Neal diving and gathering into his chest.
Fylde were certainly piling the pressure on, and Danny Rowe, in similar territory to his goal against Peterborough Sports, received a pass on the back foot, opened his body and struck fiercely into the arms of Morris.
That pressure finally told as the Coasters found an equaliser. Rowe chopped left and right and swung a cross into the box, with the ball evading everyone and running through to Walker, who slotted into the back of the net with a neat finish.
Fylde had momentum, and minutes later, another nearly rippled the back of the net when Nick Haughton worked some space and angled a shot to the far corner, seeing Morris pounce across his line and turn behind.
Despite Andy Taylor’s men pushing for a winner and looking the better side, the Gills hung on to force a replay on Tuesday, 15 November at the Priestfield Stadium.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde 1-1 Gillingham FC
AFC Fylde: Neal, Obi, Whitmore, Bird, Conlan, Walker, Weston (63’ Whitehead), Philliskirk, Haughton, Charman, Rowe.
Unused subs: McPartlan, Davis, Hatfield, Rowley, Ligendza, Taylor, Edwards, O’Kane.
Gillingham FC: Morris, Wright, MacDonald (81’ Alexander), O’Keefe (62’ Ehmer), Mandron, McKenzie, Jeffries, law, Walker (73’ Kashket), Adelakun, Baggott.
Unused Subs: Turner, Lee, Mnoga, Akehurst, Gbode.