AFC Fylde were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by AFC Telford United at Mill Farm after a second half equaliser from veteran debutant Lee Hughes.
Midfielder Dan Bradley broke the deadlock with his eighth goal for the club before former West Brom frontman Hughes struck to cut Fylde’s lead at the top of the National League North table to seven points.
Manager Dave Challinor handed defender Dan Jones his Coasters debut just 24 hours after joining on a month’s loan from Grimsby Town, whilst Josh Langley, Andy Bond and Matty Hughes all returned from injury.
Goalkeeper Rhys Taylor was called in to action early on when Joel Dielna’s strike was helped on by Edward Jones, but the Fylde custodian pulled off a sensational diving save to keep the ball out before denying Hughes on the follow up.
Fylde had a great chance of their own soon after when Jones advanced forward and his cross from the left found Matty Hughes unmarked at the back post however his goalbound poke was blocked by former Coaster Matt Urwin in the Telford goal.
The Coasters opened the scoring on 17 minutes when Bradley finished off a fantastic team move. A fine passing move found Tom Kennedy out wide and his cross was nodded down by Andy Bond to Bradley who lashed home from 15 yards.
Dielna looked to get the visitors back on level terms with immediate effect when lined up for an ambitious 40 yard free-kick and his powerful effort wasn’t far off, sailing a foot over the bar.
Telford striker Josh Wilson almost came back to haunt his old side when a wayward header from Jones saw the frontman clean through but Taylor was again in the way with a smart save at the near post.
The Coasters were dealt another injury blow when captain Josh Langley was forced off just half-an-hour into his return to the starting line-up. With no fit defenders to call upon, Andy Bond dropped into the backline.
The visitors were the width of the woodwork from finding a leveller when a corner was nodded back into the six yard box into the path of John Royle who crashed an effort off the underside of the bar from close range.
Taylor was enjoying a fine afternoon between the sticks and once again kept the spirited visitors at bay, thwarting veteran striker Hughes as the half drew to a close.
Fylde started the second half brightly with a succession of corners and Brendon Daniels’ snap shot had to be turned away to safety as the Coasters piled on the pressure.
The hosts looked comfortable and Rowe saw a long range strike fly well over the bar after finding some space 25 yards from goal.
However, from out of the blue, Telford drew level shortly before the hour. Left-back Luke Higham delivered a pinpoint cross from the left to the back post where the lurking Hughes nodded home with ease from a couple of yards on his Bucks bow.
Hughes went close to doubling his tally in similar fashion when another inviting cross from Higham found the frontman in the centre but this time his header was straight at Taylor.
The Coasters began to rediscover their rhythm with 15 minutes to play and Jones curled one just wide of the post from the edge of the area as the hosts searched for a winner.
Hughes almost found the back of the net at the other end moments later when he shrugged off Bond and only a fingertip save from Taylor prevented the 40-year-old from grabbing a second.
The hosts huffed and puffed in the dying moments but to no avail and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Wilson, Jones, Langley (Dixon 36), Kennedy, Bond, C. Hughes, Bradley, M. Hughes (Blinkhorn 74), Daniels (Baker 85), Rowe.
Subs not used: Thompson, Holland.
AFC Telford United: Urwin, Samuels, Higham, Havern, McCone, Rea, Royle, Jones (Hibbert 70), Hughes, Wilson, Dielna (Kissock 87).
Subs not used: Bailey, Hodge, Lilley.
Ref: Paul Graham