Wrexham FC vs AFC Fylde

National League
Sat 28th April 2018
Score: 0 - 0

Match Report

AFC Fylde secured their place in the National League Play-Offs following a goalless draw at Wrexham.

Fylde had more than enough chances to win the game, however a point was enough for the Coasters, who finished above Dover Athletic on goal difference to set up a date with Boreham Wood.

Manager Dave Challinor switched it around for the trip to the Racecourse with Simon Grand, James Hardy and Sam Finley stepping in for Jake Lawlor, Henry Jones and Jack Muldoon.

Finley, back in the team after recovering from illness, had the first sight on goal inside a minute when he left fly with a dipping effort that narrowly cleared the crossbar.

The hosts had the ball in the back of the net after just two minutes when Scott Quigley slotted home, however the referee pulled play back for a foul on Jordan Tunnicliffe in the build up.

The Coasters looked bright from the off and Wrexham old boy Jonny Smith bombed down the left before seeing his strike deflected around the post for a corner.

Rowe cut inside from the right as the visitors continued to dominate although his tame strike was claimed by Chris Dunn at the feet of the lurking Smith.

Tunnicliffe was given a let off when he lost out to Scott Boden 30 yards from goal before hauling down the frontman. The referee opted for a yellow card and James Jennings was denied by Jay Lynch from the resultant set-piece. 

Fylde were presented with a free-kick opportunity of their own, albeit 40 yards out, but that didn’t put off Rowe who rifled a low strike wide of the left-hand post.

Smith was proving a constant menace to his former club and almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion when he stole the ball from goalkeeper Dunn by the corner flag and whipped in a shot from the angle that had to be headed off the line by captain Shaun Pearson.

A nice combination between Rowe and Hardy culminated in the former looping a deep cross to the back post that was headed into the goalkeeper’s arms by Finley as the half drew to a close. 

Both sides looked a little subdued after the break, with the Coasters knowing a point would seal their passage. 

Smith saw an effort from 12 yards claimed at the second attempt by Dunn before the half sprang to life when Jack Mackreth crashed a wicked strike off the foot of the post.

Straight up at the other end, Fylde should have made the breakthrough. Rowe’s hooked cross from the right was laid into the path of Lewis Montrose following a superb touch from Hardy at the back post, however the midfielder first-time shot trickled wide of the far upright.

The Coasters’ pressure was relentless and the hosts had Sam Wedgbury to thank shortly before the hour mark when the midfielder nodded Jake Lawlor’s towering header off the line.

Pearson glanced a tame header goalwards in retaliation as the home side looked to get a foothold.

The tension was building with just 20 minutes to go as Dunn pulled off a fantastic fingertip save to deny Jonny Smith who had been picked out by a Dave Challinor-style throw from Andy Bond.

Finley sent Rowe racing down the left and although his cross found substitute Jack Muldoon in the centre, goalkeeper Dunn bravely threw himself on the ball.

Rowe himself could have clinched it as the match approached the final ten minutes when he was picked out by Smith on the edge of the area, however the frontman uncharacteristically sliced his strike well wide.

Finley was next to threaten the Wrexham goal when he was set free by Rowe although his left-footed strike at full pace lacked power and was comfortable for Dunn.

The Coasters were forced to play of the final moments with ten men when Luke Burke was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge, however they held on and secured seventh place.

Wrexham: Dunn, Jennings, Smith, Pearson, Wedgbury, Quigley (Mackreth 10 (Deverdics 78)), Rutherford, Kelly, Roberts, Boden, Wright. 

Subs not used: Dibble, Raven, Ainge.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe (Lawlor 24), Grand, Francis-Angol, Bond, Montrose, Finley, Smith, Hardy (Muldoon 59), Rowe (J Taylor 88).

Subs not used: Jones, Blinkhorn

Att: 3,931 (503)

Ref: Alan Young