AFC Fylde conceded a heartbreaking late equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Ebbsfleet United.

The Coasters raced into an early two-goal lead through Henry Jones and Danny Rowe, however found themselves level before half-time.

The goals continued to flow and Finley put the visitors back ahead shorty before the break before Andy Drury dealt the killer blow with a last-gasp leveller.  

Manager Dave Challinor named the same team that picked up a solid point away at Chester earlier in the week.

The first real goalmouth action brought about the opener inside 10 minutes. Rowe played in Jones and the tricky Welsh midfielder knocked the ball past his man on the edge of the area and placed his strike out of the reach of goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore and into the bottom corner.

The hosts were enjoying possession without creating too much in the way of a threat – Jack Powell’s strike that flew narrowly wide their only chance of note in the early stages.

It was to get even better for the Coasters after 16 minutes when Rowe doubled the lead. From the right, Muldoon slipped in the striker and he swept home his first goal of the season.  

No sooner was the match restarted and Ebbsfleet were back in the game. A deep cross found Kenny Clark lurking at the back post and the midfielder looped a header over Rhys Taylor and into the far corner of the goal.

And on the half-hour mark, the Fleet were back on level terms. A free-kick into the area was headed across goal and following a goalmouth scramble, skipper Danny Kedwell lashed the ball into the bottom corner from close range.

There was no let up in scintillating action and the visitors should have been back ahead a minute later. Rowe’s initial effort was spilled by Ashmore and Jones crashed the follow up against the crossbar from eight yards.

However, the Coasters had their third goal of a thoroughly entertaining half after just 35 minutes. Jones’ corner was headed clear only as far as Finley who took a touch before slamming the ball through a crowd of players and high into the roof of the net.

Fylde really should have made it four five minutes before the break when Rowe lifted a cross to the back post to where Muldoon was waiting, however the wideman nodded his effort across goal and wide of the far post.  

The match remained an open affair after the break and Taylor had to get down well to keep out Jack Payne’s low shot from 18 yards. The home side were offering more of a goal threat and Luke Coulson should have done better when teed up on the edge of the Fylde box.

Taylor was again alert when he beat half-time substitute Darren McQueen to an inviting ball over the top in the nick of time. 

Jones had a glorious chance at the other end when he broke into the box and flashed a vicious strike across goal and agonisingly wide of the far post.

Rowe was on the hunt for a second goal, but unusually passed up the opportunity to shoot in favour of toying with his marker as he danced into the area and the chance was gone.

Ebbsfleet centre-half Sam Magri was a whisker away from levelling up the scores in the final ten minutes when he met a cross from the right with a powerful header that flew inches over the bar.

However, the hosts bagged a cruel equaliser with two minutes of normal time to play. A free-kick from the left was headed clear by Lewis Montrose to Drury who knocked the ball on to his left foot and powered his effort beyond the desperate clutches of Taylor. 


Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, McCoy, Connors (Mills 87), Clark, Powell (McQueen 46), Drury, Kedwell, Weston (Shields 81), Payne, Magri, Coulson.

Subs not used: McLean, Miles.

AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Tunnicliffe, Langley, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Jones (Ezewele 73), Muldoon (Grand 87), Smith (Blinkhorn 78), Rowe.

Subs not used: Lynch, Hardy.

Ref: Gary Parsons

Att: 1,270