Taelor O’Kane’s added time equaliser earned ten-man AFC Fylde a dramatic 2-2 draw away at FC Halifax Town at the Shay Stadium on Tuesday night.
O’Kane headed Fylde into the lead just before the half-hour mark when he met Emeka Obi’s ball to steer the Coasters in front.
Jack Hunter equalised for Halifax midway through the second half in West Yorkshire before Rob Harker’s goal turned the game on its head before
Danny Whitehead was shown a straight red card by referee Steven Copeland late on, but O’Kane dramatically levelled with a header in added time as Fylde secured a draw and he grabbed his brace.
Chris Beech made three changes to the side that fell to defeat against Bromley FC, with Taelor O’Kane, Danny Whitehead & Luke Charman replacing Danny Philliskirk, Nick Haughton & Siya Ligendza.
Fylde threatened early on when Josh Kay drove forward down the left and aimed a dangerous low cross across the box, which was turned behind hurriedly by the hosts’ backline, with Charman ready to pounce. Whitehead’s resulting set-piece was cleared away.
Minutes later, a well-worked ball upfield sent Aaron Cosgrove one-on-one with Theo Richardson. The Shayman forward rounded the Coasters goalkeeper – however, he took a heavy touch and could not keep the ball in play.
Kay was involved in the Coasters’ next attacking move, which started when captain Harry Davis intercepted a loose ball to move possession out wide to Charman, who found Kay out wide, though his strike was charged down.
Two chances in quick succession followed for Chris Millington’s Town as Cosgrave’s snapshot arrowed narrowly wide of Richardson’s bottom-right post before Tyler Golden curled an effort high over the crossbar.
The Coasters were in front on 28 minutes when excellent build-up play saw Nelson Khumbeni play a defence-splitting pass into the box towards Obi, who lifted a cross across goal from the left for O’Kane to power a header beyond Sam Johnson at the back post.
Pushing for a second, a fine passing move involving Jon Ustabasi and Whitehead teed up Charman, but his shot was blocked and cleared. Ustabasi then had an opportunity, with his header saved by Johnson from Davis’ cross.
Late in the half, Halifax had openings to level. Golden hit an attempt from the edge of the box off-target before Millenic Alli’s deflected shot from distance found the gloves of Richardson.
Half-Time: FC Halifax Town 0-1 AFC Fylde
Five minutes on from the restart, Ustabasi’s pinpoint ball found an unmarked Kay at the back post in the box, who brought the ball down to power at goal, which Johnson beat away from close range.
On the hour, Sam Graham did superbly to defend Ryan Galvin’s cross, with Halifax putting the pressure on, but pressure told and Halifax levelled on 63 minutes as substitute Jack Hunter’s shot from the edge of the box beat Richardson to find the bottom corner.
Fylde could have been behind within minutes of conceding when Alli thumped a cross from the right onto the bar from four yards out.
Connor Barrett was next to go forward for Fylde, but his cross was cleared by Jordan Keane before Ormerod was threaded through by Whitehead to drive into the box, but Adam Senior did well to slide in and block his strike.
Halifax’s second of the clash came when Harker’s low shot on the turn went past Richardson and into the bottom left corner before Whitehead was dismissed for kicking out at Harker.
However, in the six minutes of added time that followed, O’Kane popped up with his and Fylde’s second of the game to head in a deserved equaliser for the Coasters.
Youngster Ormerod then had the chance to win it in the final seconds when he broke through, but Johnson kept the youngster out.
FC Halifax Town: Johnson ©, Keane, Galvin, Golden, Stott, Senior, Hunter, Thompson-Sommers (Summerfield 64), Hoti (Harker 45), Alli, Cosgrave (Oluwabori 74).
Subs not used: Wright, Wilson.
AFC Fylde: Richardson, Barrett, Graham, Davis ©, Obi (Conway 56), O’Kane, Whitehead, Khumbeni (Haughton 77), Kay (Ormerod 70), Ustabasi, Charman.
Subs not used: Glynn, Rowley.