A second-half goal from super-sub Nick Haughton ensured a 1-1 draw with Warrington Rylands at Rylands Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Callum Dolan gave the hosts the lead with a well struck effort on 59 minutes, but The Coasters made their late dominance pay when Nick Haughton came off the bench to drive the ball past the keeper from 10 yards out.
Jim Bentley made three changes to the side that started in last weekend’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Rochdale at Mill Farm, with Bobby Jones, Sam Osborne and Stephen Dobbie coming in for Chris Neal, Luke Conlan and Jordan Hulme, who all dropped to the bench.
The first real chance fell the way of the hosts after three minutes, as Dolan cut inside Luke Burke and curled a right-footed effort towards the far post, but Bobby Jones got across well to palm away.
It didn’t take long for The Coasters to find their groove, though, and it was Jack Sampson who had the ball in the back of the net after 8 minutes, only to see it disallowed for offside. Some clever play by Dobbie worked the opening, and Sampson flicked home a Tollitt cross, but he was adjudged to have made his run to the front post too early; the third disallowed goal for Sampson in as many games.
Tollitt was next to try his luck on 17 minutes. Sam Osborne did well to find Joyce in the centre of the pitch, who then found Tollitt in a pocket of space, but his well-struck shot was just wide of McCalls post.
The Coasters progressively began to show their attacking prowess, and it was new signing Stephen Dobbie who almost netted his first goal for the club, seeing his bending shot palmed away to safety.
Both sides picked up the tempo towards the end of the first half as they searched for an opener. Fylde nearly grabbed it moments before the referee blew for half-time, with the ever dangerous Dobbie curling just wide of the mark.
HT : Warrington Rylands 0 – 0 AFC Fylde
Neither side made a change at the interval, and it began as lively as the first, with Rylands’ attacker striking over after 46 minutes.
Fylde made a host of changes throughout the half, as goal scoring chances continued to present themselves for both sides. First it was Sampson who was flagged offside before he could strike, then Dobbie who saw his acrobatic volley saved.
The first goal of the game arrived just moments later. Bobby Jones had made a string of important stops to deny Dolan, but he could do nothing to prevent him from curling home on 59 minutes. A long hopeful ball forward found Dolan in space 18 yards from goal, and his superb touch and finish found the top corner.
Jim Bentley chose to take off the impressive Dobbie and replaced him with Haughton on the hour mark, who returned to the squad following an illness, and it was he who levelled with thirteen minutes left to play.
Haughton found some room inside the area, went past two defenders after faking to shoot, and produced a low drive that nestled into the bottom corner.
The equalising goal gave Fylde the confidence to go on and win it, with Hulme, Whitmore and Conlan going close. The Blues’ backline held strong, however, and the Coasters had to settle for the draw, in what was a strongly contested and entertaining pre-season friendly.
FT: Warrington Rylands 1-1 AFC Fylde