The Coasters forced a replay in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round on Saturday after Nick Haughton’s superb, last-minute free-kick cancelled out Daniel Needham’s earlier strike.

 A second-half strike from Needham got the scoring underway in the tie when he managed to loop a toe-poked effort over Neal and into the back of the net.

Though, with all the hope Congleton had of progressing into the next round, Haughton took it all away when in the dying embers, he curled an inch-perfect free-kick into the far corner, leaving Parton rooted to the spot.

Interim manager Andy Taylor made two changes to the side that drew with Spennymoor Town in midweek, with Danny Whitehead & Jordan Cranston coming in to replace Will Hatfield & Connor Barrett.

The Coasters made a bright start to proceedings as Pierce Bird managed to find Siya Ligendza down the line for him to pull back to Nick Haughton on the edge of the area, who fired well over.

Congleton weren’t afraid at all to take the game to Fylde, and that saw Arron Johns use his burning pace to stride past Bird and find Lewis Short around 25 yards from goal, though he struck wide of the post.

It was a game that was an end to end in the opening 15 minutes, which eventually resulted in Haughton being brought down just outside the box. The midfielder stepped up and aimed for the top corner, which David Parton attended to and tipped away.

Shakeel Jones-Griffiths was next to try his luck for the hosts after a bouncing ball set him up nicely to shoot inches wide of the post, seeing Chris Neal well-beaten in the process.

As the game quietened down a little, Bird was allowed time to float a defence-splitting ball up to Danny Philliskirk running at goal, but a superb last-ditch challenge from a yellow shirt prevented the danger.

On the stroke of half-time, the Coasters did have the ball in the back of the net after Haughton rattled the post from 12 yards out before Alex Whitmore, in unfamiliar territory, followed in on the rebound and converted expertly, only to see the lineman’s flag up for offside.

Half-Time: Congleton Town 0-0 AFC Fylde

After the restart and Siya Ligendza’s half chance when flicking at goal and into the hands of Parton, the hosts had a chance of their own when Tom Walker gave away possession cheaply on the edge of the area and gifted Daniel Needham with a shot from distance, which Neal watched over his bar.

Congleton were battling away, and they almost found an opener after Jordi Nsaka was allowed to put the afterburners on and skip past Kyle Morrison to try and cross into the area, but Whitmore was there to mop up for the Coasters.

Despite Haughton testing Parton in the Congleton goal, it was the hosts who went down the other end and grabbed the opener when a long ball into the area wasn’t dealt with by the Coasters and Needham was there to loop over Neal and into the net.

The hosts wanted to make sure of the tie, which they almost did when Needham was left one-on-one with Chris Neal, who spread himself and denied the midfielder with an outstretched leg.

However, there was still time for some late Coasters drama when after Haughton was brought down on the edge of the area, the midfielder stepped up and struck ever so sweetly past Parton and into the far corner of the net.

Full-Time: Congleton Town 1-1 AFC Fylde  

Congleton Town: Parton, Williams, Nsaka, Jones-Griffiths, Read, Chadwick, Johns (89’ Sankey), Hartshorn, Pope, Short (82’ Beaumont), Needham

Unused Subs: Faulkner, Griffiths, Clarke, Hampton, Hall.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Morrison, Whitmore, Bird, Cranston (24’ Conlan; 73’ Barrett), Walker, Philliskirk, Weston, Whitehead, Haughton, Ligendza (58’ Rowley).  

Unused subs: Obi, Davis, Patten, Hatfield.