Nantwich Town vs AFC Fylde

1st Team Friendly
Sat 16th July 2016
Score: 3 - 3

Match Report

A fantastic second-half comeback saw AFC Fylde earn a share of the spoils in an entertaining match at the Weaver Stadium.

Nantwich took a three-goal lead early into the second-half, however the Coasters fought back in the final half-hour with goals from Danny Rowe, Sam Finley and Matt Blinkhorn.

The Coasters looked to find Brendon Daniels at every opportunity in the early stages through Richie Baker but the left winger was marshalled well by Nantwich full-back Curtis Jones.

The hosts broke the deadlock after just seven minutes when Matt Bell’s throughball broke kindly to frontman Steve Jones 15 yards from goal and he duly rifled the ball high into the Fylde netting.

Coasters midfielder James Hardy looked to make immediate amends when he skipped into the opposition area but his low cross from the byline was well intercepted and cleared.

Winger Daniels was handed a decent opportunity with a free-kick from 30 yards but his left-footed effort lacked any real purchase and was easily claimed by Nantwich stopper Dave Parton. Baker raced onto a loose ball on the edge of the host’s area moments later however he could only direct a side-footed strike wide of the right post.

The visitors were starting to turn the screw as the half reached its midpoint with Dom Collins just over the top with a strong header.

Trialist Jason Gilchrist had a shout for a penalty when he latched on to Callum Harris’ defence splitting pass however the referee waved away the former Burnley striker’s appeals. James Hardy looked lively for the visitors and was close with a Ronaldo-esque flick shortly before the half-hour mark.

Fylde fashioned their best opportunity of the match so far when Daniels whipped a delightful cross onto the Dabbers’ penalty spot but a stretching Gilchrist could only nod into the goalkeepers grateful hands.

Jones doubled the host’s advantage on the stroke of half-time against the run of play. Andy Bond slipped on the wet surface and Jones found himself clean through with time to round goalkeeper Paul White and slot the ball into the gaping goal.  

Nantwich took just three second-half minutes to add a third goal in spectacular fashion – winger Jonny Kapend cutting in from the right and lashing the ball high into the Fylde goal past a helpless White.

White redeemed himself with an impressive double save moments later, firstly keeping out goalscorer Jones from 12 yards and then blocking from substitute Sam Dodd in the resultant melee.

Ten minutes into the half, White brought down Jones when he rushed out to challenge the hitman five yards outside his box but was spared punishment in true pre-season friendly style.

Challinor made six changes on the hour mark but it was half-time substitute Matt Blinkhorn that was presented with the next opportunity when he latched on to a loose ball in the area although his left footed swipe was high and wide.

There was to be something for the visiting fans to smile about when sub Rowe – on the pitch for less than five minutes – cut in from the left and lashed the ball across goal and into the far corner of the net. A stunning first goal of pre-season for last year’s top scorer.

Fylde reduced the deficit further still with a second goal in five minutes. Midfielder Sam Finley dispossessed the Nantwich backline and danced past his man before coolly sliding the ball past goalkeeper Parton.  

Matty Hughes aimed to put the two sides on level terms with 15 minutes to play when Rowe picked him out in the area but his weak header drifted wide of the far post.

The comeback was indeed complete seconds later when Blinkhorn tapped home from eight yards after Rowe’s powerful freekick fell kindly at his feet. The lively Finley then spun his marker and unleashed a fierce drive at the Nantwich goal as the visitors pressed for a winner.

The chances continued to come for the Coasters and Dixon was next to try his luck after galloping between the two centre-halves, but his scuffed strike towards the bottom left hand corner was comfortable for Parton. Rowe struck a fine late effort as Fylde looked to nick it, but it was pushed away by the stinging palms of Parton.

Nantwich Town: Parton, Jones, Touray, Harrison (Dodd 49), Bailey, Bell, Kapend (Stair 86), Hall (Smith 63), Smith (Gordon 29), Jones, Flint (Riley 39).

Subs not used: Stair, Jones, Sanders.

AFC Fylde: White, Holmes (C.Hughes 60), Bond, Collins (Sumner 60), Crainey, Baker (Finley 60), Hardy (M.Hughes 60), Harris (Dixon 46), Bell-Baggie (Blinkhorn 46), Daniels (Dudley 60), Gilchrist (Rowe).

Subs not used: Howell, Wynee.

Att: 160