AFC Fylde bow out of the FA Trophy Third Round on penalties, following a hard-fought draw with Boston United at the Jakemans Community Stadium.
Junior Mondal gave The Coasters the dream start after just 20 seconds, before the Pilgrims’ super-sub, Connor Dimaio, levelled the game late on. Another substitute, Scott Garner, was the match-winner, stroking his penalty past Lewis Thomas to ensure the hosts progressed with a 4-2 win on penalties.
The Coasters travelled to their National League North counterparts after a convincing 4-1 second-round victory at Curzon Ashton on Tuesday. Nick Chadwick opted for four changes to the side that started that night, bringing skipper, Nathan Pond, back into the team, along with Ben Tollitt, Danny Philliskirk and Lewis Thomas, who made his Fylde debut following his arrival from Burnley on Friday.
It took just 20 seconds for the visitors to take the lead, with the in-form Junior Mondal netting his third goal in two games.
Coasters’ target-man Jack Sampson, used his strength to hold off his man and slip the ball into Mondal’s path, allowing the young winger to curl a left-footed effort past Ross Fitzsimons in the Boston goal.
The game calmed down momentarily with both teams settling into the game before Kurt Willoughby almost extended Fylde’s lead with 12 minutes on the clock. The striker did well to wriggle away from Luke Shiels but was halted by a last-ditch Pierce Bird challenge as he attempted to pull the trigger inside the six-yard box.
On the 15-minute mark, Pilgrims captain, Luke Shiels, almost found an equalising goal. The centre-back latched onto a Joe Leesley delivery but was unable to keep his header down, to Lewis Thomas’ relief.
Then came another chance for Willoughby on 26 minutes, as Danny Philliskirk’s well-timed pass gave the lively forward the chance to shoot at goal, but his strike was met by a fine save from Fitzsimons.
After 30 minutes, Ben Tollitt tried his luck – stinging the hands of the Boston keeper before Mondal spurned a chance six minutes later.
The Coasters pushed for that all-important second goal but were unable to find it before the referee blew for half-time.
HALF TIME: Boston 0-1 AFC Fylde
Boston came out for the second half with a point to prove, evident in the way they came at Fylde in the opening few minutes.
Paul Green was the man who almost levelled the tie early in the second half, the Pilgrims midfielder seeing his effort well saved by the debutant, Thomas.
The game then ebbed and flowed without either team managing to muster up any clear-cut openings; the fierce wind, perhaps, to blame for the shortage in quality.
Craig Elliott threw on Scott Garner and Connor Dimaio in the 75th minute, in the hope of his side getting back into the game – and that they did.
It was Dimaio who produced the moment of magic with nine minutes to play, cutting inside and curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner of the net to restore parity.
The Coasters refused to lie down, though, seeing two late efforts from Luke Conlan and Philliskirk denied.
1-1 was the score as Matthew Scholes blew the full-time whistle, meaning that the Third-Round tie would be settled over a penalty shoot-out.
The Pilgrims netted all four of their penalties, with Fylde converting two – Philliskirk and Brennan failing to convert for The Coasters.
Scott Garner was the man who stepped up to score the match-winning penalty for the home side, squeezing the ball through Thomas’ fingertips to sink The Coasters’ hopes of retaining the FA Trophy.
Fylde now turn their focus back to the National League North when they travel to Lancashire-neighbours Chorley on Boxing Day.
FULL TIME: Boston United 1 – 1 AFC Fylde (Boston United win 4-2 on penalties)