A Danny Rowe inspired AFC Fylde eased through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy with an entertaining 3-2 victory at Gloucester City.

Rowe fired a 94th minute winner to complete his sixth hat-trick of the season for the Coasters who advance despite twice trailing at Whaddon Road.

Manager Dave Challinor handed new man Darren Stephenson his Coasters debut following his loan move from Tranmere in the week, whilst Dan Bradley shifted to full-back in place of the cup tied Macauley Wilson. Richie Baker replaced Andy Bond in midfield.

The hosts started brightly and took a surprise lead inside the opening two minutes when Joe Parker delivered a deep cross from the right to the back post where the unmarked Lewis Hall kept his composure to side-foot into the top corner.

Rhys Taylor had to be alert to keep out a powerful free-kick from full back Joe Hanks as Gloucester piled on the pressure in the early stages.

The Coasters were struggling to get a foothold in the game but were given a glorious opportunity to do so when referee Joe Hull awarded a penalty for a foul on Josh Langley at the back post.

Top scorer Rowe made no mistake from the spot, sending goalkeeper Jasbir Singh the wrong way with a confident penalty into the bottom right hand corner.

Darren Mullings went close to putting Gloucester back ahead but his header under pressure from Langley was wide of the left hand post.

Fylde hit back with a fantastic chance a moment later when Stephenson latched on to a long goal kick from Taylor and despite racing through one-on-one, his low strike rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.

Taylor was the busier of the two stoppers and did well to keep out Edwards Williams’ long range strike at the second time of asking.

The match was in danger of bubbling over as tempers flared for the second time in a heated opening period as Bohan Dixon was booked for a lunge on Mullings.

Rowe went close to doubling his tally when he was picked out on the six yard line by Brendon Daniels however his clever flick was straight at Singh.

The hosts fashioned the first shooting opportunity of the second half when Hanks saw his 30-yard free-kick parried away by Taylor and Zack Kotwica could only scoop the rebound over the bar.

Gloucester man Hall tested Taylor with a well struck effort from distance but the Fylde stopper got down well to smother the strike.

Shortly before the hour-mark, the Tigers were deservedly back in front through a quick counter attack. Parker advanced forward from his own half onto the retreating Fylde defence before unleashing a pinpoint left-footed strike into the bottom right hand corner.

Some fantastic football from the visitors almost resulted in the equaliser. Rowe beat his man on the byline, cut the ball back to Hardy who found Langley eight yards from goal but his first time strike was cleared off the line.

Fylde were enjoying much of the possession as the game approached the final quarter and striker Matt Blinkhorn was introduced as Challinor’s side looked to make their dominance count.

Stephenson should have marked his debut with a goal with ten minutes to play but took too long to shoot after exchanging passes with James Hardy and his eventual effort was blocked.

At the other end Gloucester were inches from putting the result to bed when Edwards saw his strike saved by Taylor and although the rebound hit the unaware Luke Hopper, the ball deflected wide of the far post.

The Coasters refused to lie down and were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Gloucester area that Rowe stepped up to smash home through a crowd for his 30th goal of the season.

Just when it looked like the two sides were set for a replay, Rowe shifted the ball onto his right foot after a goalmouth scramble and fired home into the bottom corner to send the visiting bench wild.

Gloucester thought they had an equaliser in the final seconds when substitute James Fitzgibbon nicked the ball off Rhys Taylor who was about to take a free-kick and passed into the net, but the referee was wise to his tricks and disallowed the goal.



Gloucester City: Singh, Hanks, Hall, Greenslade, Avery, Mullings, Dinsley, Parker, Hopper, Kotwica (Fitzgibbon 86), Williams (Harding 90).

Subs not used:  Low, Richards.

AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bradley (Bond 46), Langley, Williams, Kennedy, Baker, Finley, Dixon (Hardy 46), Stephenson, Daniels (Blinkhorn 69), Rowe.

Subs not used: Thompson, Collins.

Att: 204

Ref: Joe Hull