AFC Fylde twice came from behind to earn a point in an enthralling contest against Eastleigh.

Centre-half Reda Johnson put the home side into the lead however Henry Jones levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Ex-Premier League man Gary McSheffrey put Eastleigh back into the driving seat before Jordan Tunnicliffe stabbed home his first goal of the season.  

Manager Dave Challinor handed a debut to goalkeeper Jay Lynch whilst Henry Jones replaced Sam Finley in the centre of the park.

On loan winger Jonny Smith looked to get the Coasters off to the perfect start when he drove forward and ghosted past his man before rifling his effort just over the bar. 

The visitors were enjoying some early pressure and former Arsenal stopper Graham Stack stood tall to keep out Rowe’s powerful strike at the back post.

It was all one-way traffic through the opening 20 minutes as Jones lashed an effort into the side netting from 18 yards. 

Missed chances were once again to prove costly for the Coasters as the hosts broke the deadlock midway through the half. An inswinging corner from the left pinballed around the Fylde penalty area before eventually being nodded in from close range by Johnson.

The goal seemed to knocked the stuffing out of the Coasters and the game evened itself out – a tame strike across from Rowe the only real chance during a quiet spell.

With the half-time whistle imminent, Jones restored parity with his fourth goal of the season. Rowe’s fierce strike from the edge of the area was well saved by Stack however the ball bounced up kindly for Jones to head home from six yards.

However, the home side regained their advantage less than ten minutes after the restart. Mark Yeates’ clever pass over the top found McSheffrey who lifted the ball over the advancing Lynch from eight yards.

The frantic start to the second period continued as the Coasters drew level once again five minutes later. Jones whipped in a free-kick that was headed back into the danger area by Simon Grand and, following a scramble in the box, Tunnicliffe fired the ball home with aplomb. 

Fylde should have put themselves ahead for the first time moments later when Andy Bond, presented with a virtually open goal, sliced his effort wide after Smith had seen his strike well saved by Stack.

Rowe thought he had added his name to the scoresheet when he launched a thunderbolt from 25 yards but could only watch on in disbelief as the ball cannoned back off the post with the goalkeeper stranded.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday star Johnson almost has his second of the game when he too rattled the woodwork – this time the crossbar – with a bullet header from ten yards. The towering centre-half clearly had the taste as he took aim with piledriver from fully 35 yards that flashed wide.

Coasters frontman Rowe was wide by a similar distance when he tried his luck after skipping past a couple of challenges on the edge of the Eastleigh area.

The Fylde top scorer was getting closer and the hosts required yet another quality save from Stack to deny Rowe late on after he had raced clean through.


Eastleigh: Stack, Boyce (Wood 64), Johnson, Howe, Green, Matthews (McAllister 75), Hollands, Miley, Yeates, Zebroski, McSheffrey (Williamson 82). 

Subs not used: Constable, Abilene.

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Grand, Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Jones (Tasdemir 70), Muldoon (McCready 82), Smith (Blinkhorn 89), Rowe.

Subs not used: Taylor, Richards. 

Att: 3,312 (52)

Ref: Sam Purkiss