An end-to-end mouth-watering spectacle between the National League North’s top two saw AFC Fylde and King’s Lynn play out a 3-3 draw at Mill Farm.
It was a game that had everything you could wish for from a game of football, with the Linnets fighting back from 3-1 down to earn a point.
It was the Coasters who drew first blood in the tie when a throw into the area from Connor Barrett was flicked on by Danny Whitehead into the path of Mo Faal, who on the half turn, volleyed into the bottom corner.
With Fylde looking comfortable and dangerous on the attack, King’s Lynn pulled one back against the run of play after a clever reverse ball behind the Coasters backline was latched onto by Ben Stephens for him to take one touch and lift over Neal.
As the half-time break approached, the game livened up further, with the Coasters scoring two in quick succession when Luke Conlan turned in at the far post from Faal’s header back across goal before Nick Haughton saw a deflected free-kick nestle into the far corner of the net.
The game couldn’t have been more frantic in the second half, but King’s Lynn took advantage of being on top when Josh Barrett drove into the box and finished cutely from a tight angle before Gold Omotayo volleyed in from close range.
Adam Murray made five changes to the side that lost against Hereford in midweek, with Emeka Obi, Jordan Cranston, Connor Barrett, Danny Philliskirk & Nick Haughton replacing Pierce Bird, Harry Davis, Harvey Gregson, Tom Walker & Luke Charman.
It was a clash that had a big game feeling surrounding it, with both sides sitting level on points at the top of the table and only goal difference separating them before 3pm.
That spurred the Coasters on in the opening five minutes when Nick Haughton found Luke Conlan at the back post from a corner for him to knock it back into the six-yard box and into Alex Whitmore’s path, who took a touch to shoot, but Paul Jones was there to collect.
Fylde looked bright so far, and that brought a few more opportunities for the home side.
After Haughton pumped a free-kick into the area, King’s Lynn scrambled to clear before Nick then tested Jones, who palmed away his left-footed effort.
Danny Whitehead then saw Haughton free on his own and switched play out wide to allow the number 10 to make Jones save once more.
For all the Coasters’ domination in the opening stages, Michael Clunan was given time to spread the play to Aaron Jones on the left, who took one touch and fired at goal and the hands of Chris Neal to give Fylde a little scare.
However, anyone watching at Mill Farm would say the Coasters deserved a lead, and that they earned through Faal, who latched onto Danny Whitehead’s header from Connor Barrett’s throw to fire in on the half-turn.
Adam Murray’s side was certainly playing on the front foot and looked a threat every time they ventured forward.
After dispossessing the Linnets on the halfway line, Haughton had time and space to feed Faal in on goal, but Kyle Callan-McFadden backtracked well to deny him on the line before Connor Barrett had a free run into the 18-yard box and shot at goal saved by Jones.
As the board went up for added time, nobody would believe there were another three goals to write home about.
For all Fylde’s good work, the visitors still carried a threat, and that was evident when a ball in behind allowed Ben Stephens to beat the offside trap and lift into the back of the net.
It’s mentioned almost every week, but the Coasters always bounce back, and they did just that again – not once but twice. A well-worked corner into the area was headed back across goal by Faal, where Conlan was waiting to turn home from a few yards out.
It didn’t take long for the home side to add another in stoppage time when after Haughton was brought down, he picked himself up and struck on target, off the wall and into the back of the net, wrongfooting Jones in the process.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde 3-1 King’s Lynn Town
Opposite to the start of the first 45, the second half started in a much quieter fashion, with goalscorer Stephens wriggling free from Emeka Obi to launch over the bar from close range.
Despite the quieter start, things changed once again when King’s Lynn pulled one back through Barrett after he was left free to run into the box and eventually strike across goal and into the top corner.
The Coasters hadn’t really threatened in the half, and King’s Lynn took advantage of that when a high ball hung up in the air and wasn’t dealt with by the Fylde defence, allowing Omotayo to let the ball drop and volley into the far corner to earn a draw for the Linnets.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde 3-3 King’s Lynn Town
AFC Fylde: Neal; Obi, Whitmore, Conlan; Cranston (70’ Davis), Barrett; Philliskirk, Malone; Haughton (70’ Charman), Whitehead (75’ Hatfield); Faal.
Unused subs: Walker, Ligendza.
King’s Lynn Town: Jones; Coulson, Denton (82’ Ponticelli), Callan-McFadden, Jones, Crowther; Widdrington, Barrett, Culnan; Stephens (59’ Cosgrave (84’ Oxlade-Chamberlain), Omotayo.
Unused Subs: Hughes, Jones.