Three goals apiece saw the points shared between AFC Fylde and Bradford Park Avenue as a stoppage-time equaliser denied The Coasters a win at Mill Farm.
Luke Conlan looked to have won the game for the hosts with his first goal of the season, but Lewis Knight’s second goal of the night three minutes into added time sunk all hopes of back to back home wins.
Nick Chadwick made two changes to the side that started against Boston United at the weekend, bringing Kurt Willoughby in for the injured Nick Haughton, and handing Luke Brennan his first start for the club replacing Nathan Shaw who dropped to the bench.
The game got off to a lively start inside a bitter Mill Farm, with Bradford Park Avenue taking the lead inside two minutes. Striker, Brad Dockerty curled a low effort from 18 yards out into the bottom corner. The linesman initially raised his flag for offside, but after consulting the referee, a goal was awarded to the dismay of the AFC Fylde players.
After 13 minutes, Coasters’ winger Ben Tollitt got them back on level terms following a slick move from right to left. The hosts’ patience was rewarded when Tollitt found the room to cut inside onto his favoured right foot and bend the ball around the defender and into the bottom corner, leaving Dan Atkinson helpless in goal.
Two minutes later, and Fylde were ahead. Tollitt’s goal injected some life into a lacklustre Fylde display, and it was Kurt Willoughby who provided it as he drilled a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner from distance.
It took a good stop from Chris Neal to prevent Bradford Park Avenue from equalising on 29 minutes, before they eventually did a minute later.
Some terrific work by left-back, Harry Boyes, saw him deliver a pin-point cross onto the head of Lewis Knight, who powered the ball home.
The first half hour was fast-paced, but the tempo reduced for the remainder of the half as both sides regained some composure.
Half-time: AFC Fylde 2-2 Bradford Park Avenue
The first chance of the second-half fell the way of Wigan Athletic loanee Jack Sanders. The big 6’4 central defender rose highest to meet a Luke Brennan corner, but his downward header was somehow deflected onto the post before being hacked to safety.
Thirty seconds later, Tollitt almost grabbed his second goal of the match, and arguably should have. Danny Philliskirk and Jordan Hulme combined well in the final third, before the latter cut the ball back for Tollitt to slam home, but he uncharacteristically ballooned his effort over the crossbar.
On 55 minutes, it was Alex Whitmore who this time got his head to a Brennan delivery. His low driven corner found its way into the centre of the box, before the skipper glanced a header towards goal. But once more, Jordan Windass found himself in the right place at the right time to clear.
After 67 minutes, the third goal that The Coasters had been pushing for finally came. It was Nathan Shaw who was the catalyst, after the sub’s fine work gave Luke Burke the chance to fizz the ball across goal for Luke Conlan to tap home. Conlan wheeled away celebrating his first goal of the season, and what was thought to be the nail in The Green Army’s coffin.
Jack Sanders had another header denied with ten minutes left to play, but it was the visitors that eventually had the final say.
Chadwick’s side were playing some good football, trying to manage the game, before a wave of long balls came from the visitors as they searched desperately for that final chance.
That chance came in the third-minute of stoppage time, when a teasing ball somehow made its way past The Coasters back-line and found Lewis Knight at the back post. The striker, who took his first goal superbly, never looked like missing as he hooked the ball back towards goal to salvage a point on the road.
Full Time: AFC Fylde 3 – 3 Bradford Park Avenue