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AFC Fylde
Tue 23 Aug 19:45 - The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier - First Division North

Backs to the Wall Performance Earns a Hard Earned Point

Mossley did everything bar dig trenches to survive a late onslaught by table topping promotion favourites AFC Fylde at Kellamergh Park on Tuesday night. That they didn't achieve their fourth successive victory was testament to Mossley's never say die back

With Peter Band, Steve Halford, Lee Rick and Danny Queeley all out injured and with summer signing Scott Barlow placed on the transfer list it was a particularly unfamiliar Mossley line up that took to AFC Fylde's lush playing surface. Giant centre back Keil O'Brien and left back Ben Fallows were given debuts while in midfield Alex Byrne returned to the starting line up and there was a first start for the experienced Mark Innes.

Mossley opened brightly and almost scored in the opening minutes. Kayde Coppin showed his marker a clean pair of heels before his superb cross found the head of Tom Ingham, but the promising youngster headed over the bar when well placed.

Fylde started to push Mossley onto the back foot and several shots from distance flew wide or over as the homesters looked to extend their 100% start to the season. However it was Mossley who drew first blood with a contentious opener on 9 minutes. Coppin was fouled on the left wing and his floated free kick appeared to have gone out of play at the far post before being knocked back into the middle were Fylde keeper Whiteside made a hash of his catch and Nick Swirad forced the ball home from close range. Just how Whiteside stayed on the field after the tirade of foul and abusive he then aimed at the referee's assistant will forever remain a mystery.

Fylde piled forward again with Kay, Booth and Allen all going close but despite their pressure Mossley keeper Martin Pearson was rarely troubled.

Mossley really put the cat among the pigeons five minutes after the interval when they doubled their lead with a stunning goal by former youth team skipper Alex Byrne. Fylde centre back Steel saw Byrne intercept a pass before the teenage midfielder curled a stunning right foot shot from fully 30 yards that left Whiteside rooted to his line.

What followed was then akin to the alamo as Fylde poured forward in wave after wave of attacks before finally clawing their way back into the game on 65 minutes. Fylde won a corner on Mossley's left and Glenn Steel climbed highest to head powerfully home from Jarvis' cross.

The Fylde pressure increased but it was Mossley who created the next clear opening. Tom Ingham was sent clear down the right wing and his deep cross found substitute Scott Hogan clear of the last Fylde defender. Unfortunately, Hogan then fired powerfully over the bar when a placed shot would surely have brought better reward.

Fylde's pressure now became incessant and with just four minutes left on the clock they finally found their equaliser but it was a tragic goal from Mossley's perspective as Mike Barnes' speculative shot from 25 yards was sailing wide when the ball took a wicked deflection off a Mossley defender and flew into the net.

Fylde sensed a winner in the dying minutes but Mossley's overworked defence were in no mood to come away with nothing but they still had keeper Pearson to thank for a superb save in the closing moments to deny Heywood and the point that the resilient Lilywhites deserved for their efforts was won. It could have been even better had Hogan taken his chance, but having said that it could have been a lot worse but for some absolutely superb defensive work particularly by centre backs O'Brien and Swirad.

Report by Wizard

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League round up

Other First Division North results

Radcliffe Borough
Salford City
Skelmersdale United
Woodley Sports

League table

    Pd Pts
1. Radcliffe Borough 42 45
2. Prescot Cables 42 42
3. Ossett Town 42 42
4. Ossett Albion 42 39
5. Clitheroe 42 38
6. Wakefield 42 33
7. Harrogate Railway Athletic 42 31
8. Cammell Laird 42 28

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