Gloucester City 2 AFC Fylde 3: FA Trophy report and reaction

Fylde congratulate matchwinner Danny Rowe  Picture: WILL KILPATRICK
Fylde congratulate matchwinner Danny Rowe Picture: WILL KILPATRICK

A Danny Rowe-inspired Fylde won through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy despite trailing after 88 minutes.

AFC Fylde 3

A Danny Rowe-inspired Fylde won through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy despite trailing after 88 minutes.

Rowe equalised and then added the 94th-minute winner to complete his sixth hat-trick of the season and took him beyond 30 goals after the Coasters had twice trailed at Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road ground.

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

The hosts started brightly and took the lead inside 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.

Fylde keeper Rhys Taylor had to be alert to keep out a powerful free-kick from full- back Joe Hanks as their National North rivals piled on the pressure in the early stages.

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

Top scorer Rowe made no mistake, sending goalkeeper Jasbir Singh the wrong way with a confident penalty into the bottom right corner after 18 minutes.

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

Fylde had a fantastic chance a moment later, when Stephenson latched on to a long goal-kick from Taylor and went through on goal one-on-one but rolled his low strike wide.

Taylor was the busier stopper 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, with Bohan Dixon booked for a lunge on Darren Mullings.

Rowe went close to doubling his tally when he was picked out on the six-yard line by Brendon Daniels but 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 by Taylor and Zack Kotwica could only scoop the rebound over the bar.

Hall was next to test Taylor with a well-struck effort from distance but the keeper got down well to smother.

The Tigers deservedly regained the lead from a quick counter-attack on 58 minutes. Parker advance from his own half before unleashing a pinpoint left-footed strike into the bottom right corner.

Fantastic football from the visitors almost resulted in the equaliser. Rowe beat his man on the bye-line and cut the ball back to James Hardy, who found Langley but his first-time strike from eight yards 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 to make their dominance count.

Stephenson should have marked his debut with a goal with 10 minutes to play but took too long to shoot after exchanging passes with Hardy and his effort was blocked.

Gloucester were inches from putting the result to bed when Edwards saw his strike saved by Taylor, the ball rebounding wide off the unaware Luke Hopper.

Time was running out but the Coasters refused to lie down and Rowe smashed a free-kick through the crowd for his 30th of the season.

And just when a replay looked likely, Rowe shifted the ball on to his right foot in a goalmouth scramble and fired into the bottom corner.

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

DANIEL AGNEW

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