AFC Fylde progressed into the FA Trophy Fourth Round on penalties following a 2-2 draw against Nuneaton Borough at the CBS Arena.
It took until the first minute of the second half for the scoring to commence, and it was the home side that took the lead through Owen Oseni after confusion in the Fylde backline left him to slot into an empty net.
Continuing to fight and push for a reply, the Coasters quickly found themselves in front after quickfire and well-taken goals from Connor Barrett and Luke Charman.
Nuneaton did, however, manage to take the tie the full distance when a cross to the back post was nodded in by Leroy Lita, who made sure penalties were on the cards, but holding their nerve was the Coasters, with Jon Ustabasi scoring the winning penalty to send his side through to the next round.
Director of Football/Head Coach Chris Beech made six changes to the side that drew with Dorking Wanderers last time out, with Chris Neal, Emeka Obi, Danny Philliskirk, Kieran Glynn, Siya Ligendza & Danny Ormerod coming into the side.
Theo Richardson, Sam Graham, Jon Ustabasi & Luke Charman all took places on the bench, whilst Josh Kay & Nelson Khumbeni sat out with injuries.
Academy scholars Jesse Hailwood, Liam Muscart & Charlie Markland were included on the bench and joined graduates Taelor O’Kane and Ormerod in the matchday squad.
The Coasters started brightly in the opening 10 minutes and had two opportunities to take the lead. After Connor Barrett beat his marker inside the area, he squared to Siya Ligendza, who darted towards the front post and placed wide before Nick Haughton was kept out by Daniel Jezeph in the Nuneaton net.
Nuneaton fought back and nearly took the lead when a long throw into the area was flicked into the path of Victor Nirennold, but his header was gathered on the line by Chris Neal.
However, Nick Haughton thought he’d grabbed the game’s opener when he cut inside and curled towards the top corner of the net, with Dan Jozeph getting the slightest touch to divert onto the post.
Fylde came under a little pressure from the hosts after some nice work on the edge of the area from Kane Richards, Kacy Milan-Butterfield took over and saw his effort at goal deflect into the gloves of Chris Neal.
Half-Time: Nuneaton Borough 0-0 AFC Fylde
Nuneaton made a dream start to the second half with just 30 seconds on the clock. A long ball up-field wasn’t dealt with by the Coasters backline and Oseni was there to pick up the pieces and slot into an empty net.
Looking for a response and equalizer, the Coasters had opportunities to level through Barrett & Ormerod, with Barrett blasting over from just outside the area and Ormerod curling inches wide of the post after good work from Ustabasi down the right.
With just over 20 minutes of the second half gone, Chris Beech’s men managed to level after Max Conway did brilliantly to hang a ball to the back post and Ustabasi, but as Nuneaton headed away, Barrett set himself and volleyed into the top corner of the net.
The game turned on its head seven minutes later when Fylde’s equaliser spurred them on to get another and take the lead. Charman looked lively on the left and cut inside to beat three men and find the bottom left corner from the edge of the box.
Boro kept going, and they eventually grabbed an equaliser with five minutes left on the clock when a cross from the left travelled to the back post and Lita, who nodded in to send the game to penalties.
Five successful penalty kicks were taken before Milan-Butterfield stepped up and blasted over before Ustabasi did the honours and lifted into the top corner for the victory.
Full-Time: Nuneaton Borough 2-2 AFC Fylde
AFC Fylde won 6-5 on penalties.
Nuneaton: Jozeph, McWilliams, Storer, Nirennold, McManus (75’ Lafleur), Richards (79’ Yafei), Lita, Oseni, Milan-Butterfield, Rowe-Turner, Osbourne (75’Stenson).
Unused subs: Mancinelli, Osborn, Friel, Curtlin.
Coasters XI: Neal, Barrett, Obi, Davis, Conway; O’Kane, Philliskirk (56’ Ustabasi), Glynn; Haughton (84’ Graham); Ligendza (56’ Charman), Ormerod.
Unused Subs: Richardson, Hailwood, Muscart, Markland.