Two second-half headers sent The Coasters back to the Fylde Coast empty handed as they were beaten 3-1 by local rivals Chorley at Victory Park.
Connor Hall got Chorley off to a wonder start inside five minutes, but two second half headers from Andy Owens and Harvey Smith made sure that Ben Tollitt’s 17th minute effort was meaningless.
Following the hard-fought FA Trophy loss at Boston United last time out, Nick Chadwick decided on three changes for the Boxing Day clash, calling on the services of Chris Neal who returned from his injury lay-off; while Luke Burke and Nathan Shaw also got the nod.
The Coasters made their return to league action after a two-week break, which saw them travel to Curzon Ashton and Boston play in the second and third round of the FA Trophy.
AFC Fylde and Chorley have met before on Boxing Day, back in 2016, when two Jason Walker goals secured a derby-day win at Mill Farm for Chorley. The last time the two sides met, however, was in 2017 when Fylde ran out 3-1 winners at Victory Park.
The game got off to a similar start to that of the Boxing Day tie in 2016, with Chorley looking most dangerous. And it was that dominance that saw them take the lead after just five minutes.
Some clever hold-up play Lewis Reilly allowed Connor Hall to curl home from the corner of the 18-yard box, putting his side in the drivers seat after a fast start to the game.
The goal seemed to wake the visitors up, and their persistence paid off twelve minutes later when Ben Tollitt squeezed the ball past Matt Urwin to equalise.
With the scoreline level, Chorley then came back into the ascendency. The first chance coming the way of goalscorer, Connor Hall, but an outstanding last-ditch challenge from Nathan Pond was enough to prevent the front-man from doubling his tally.
Then it was former Coaster, Arlen Birch, who drove froward for the Magpies. The full-back broke free of Ben Tollitt, and pulled the ball back to Lewis Reilly from the byline, but his effort was blocked by Pond again.
As the first-half drew to a close, Nathan Shaw saw two long-range efforts go close. The first was held well by Urwin, and the second just missed the far post via a deflection.
Alex Whitmore had a header saved on the stroke of half-time; the big central-defender rising highest in the penalty area to head a Shaw corner straight at Urwin.
HT Chorley 1-1 AFC Fylde
Fylde dominated the early moments of the second-half, knocking the ball around in a way that we had become accustomed to this campaign.
A 47th minute Ben Tollitt free-kick was the first to give Chorley a scare, before Danny Philliskirk struck the base of the post four minutes later after a free-flowing move.
Then came the moment that swung the game in Chorley’s favour. A looping corner in the 58th minute was met by super-sub, Andy Owens, who – with his first touch after coming off the bench – headed past the outstretched Neal.
With Fylde attempting to recover from going behind, Chorley came up with another sucker-punch in similar fashion. It was another set piece that spoiled The Coasters’ belated Christmas party, with Harvey Smith this time rising highest to head into the back of the net.
A handball shout was waved away mid-way through the second half, when Jack Sampson flicked a header onto the raised hand of Lewis Baines.
Nick Chadwick urged his side on, but Fylde huffed and puffed for the remainder of the game with a solid Chorley outfit standing strong to deny any chance of a comeback.
The Coasters are back in action on Monday, when they welcome Southport to Mill Farm for a 3 pm kick off.
FT: Chorley 3-1 AFC Fylde