AFC Fylde Women endured a frustrating afternoon on Sunday after being held to a 2-2 draw against Loughborough Lightning at Kellamergh Park.
The Coasters raced into a commanding lead in the first half with goals from Emily Hollinshead and Faye McCoy. However, the Lightning battled back to restore parity in the second half and came away with a point for their efforts.
Danielle Young’s Fylde side defended resolutely and created numerous chances to win the match but ultimately had to settle for a draw against a spirited and determined opposition.
While the result saw the Lightning earn their first point of the season, the Coasters themselves were able to extend their unbeaten league run and consolidate their mid-table position.
Despite the disappointment of not claiming all three points, Young’s side can take great heart from another impressive team performance that stretches their unbeaten run in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division to six matches.
This fixture saw both teams show their support for the Stonewall UK Rainbow Laces campaign with the aim of celebrating diversity and inclusion in the game.
The Coasters were quick out of the blocks and created the first big chance of the contest. After excellent play down the right, Hannah Fryer sent in a cross for Faye McCoy, who steered the ball narrowly wide of the post.
Fylde then made the breakthrough in the 22nd minute when Laura Merrin charged down the left and whipped a low cross into the box for Emily Hollinshead to convert from close range. Hollinshead made no mistake with a confident finish past Kiya Webb in the Loughborough goal.
Just past the half-hour mark, the Coasters were given the chance to double their lead when they were awarded a penalty for a handball offence in the area. McCoy stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick, sending Webb the wrong way.
The Coasters went into the interval with a two-goal advantage as just rewards for their attacking dominance.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-0 Loughborough Lightning
The Lightning came out rejuvenated in the second half as they looked for a way back into the game. Fylde shot-stopper Grace Pomfret had to be alert to the danger and reacted well to turn Kayleigh Hines’s effort around the post.
Minutes later, Chloe Young looked to play in Doris Greenwood on the counterattack but Pomfret raced out to make a crucial block to deny the visitors.
Lightning eventually managed to find a way through when Ella Powell scored with a crisp finish to reduce the deficit in the 57th minute.
The visitors netted the equaliser not long after in the 64th minute. After Pomfret had saved the initial shot, Katie Middleton was on hand to tap home the rebound from close range and complete the comeback for the Lightning.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, the hosts almost retook the lead from a free-kick when Jenna Carroll connected with a powerful header against the crossbar before McCoy fired over from the rebound.
With neither side able to find a winner in the closing stages, the Coasters ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils against the Lightning.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-2 Loughborough Lightning
AFC Fylde Women: Pomfret, Fryer, Carroll, Taylor, Merrin, Forster, Rowe (92′ Binks), Fields, Hollinshead, McCoy, Hughes (12′ Pearson – 60′ Redgrave)
Unused substitutes: Cook, Smith.
Next up, the Coasters turn their attention to the FA Women’s National League Plate on Sunday when they welcome Doncaster Rovers Belles to Kellamergh Park. This First Round tie against the Belles is scheduled for Sunday 30th October, with kick-off at 2.00 pm.
Report by Scott Jones