Match report: Eastleigh 2 AFC Fylde 2

Henry Jones scores for Fylde Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Fylde twice came from behind to earn a point in an enthralling contest on the south coast.

Centre-half Reda Johnson put the home side into the lead only for Henry Jones to level 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, while Jones replaced injured 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 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 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 Johnson nodded in from close range.

The goal seemed to knocked the stuffing out of the Coasters and the game evened itself out – a tame strike 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 but the ball bounced up kindly for Jones to head home from six yards.

The home side regained their within 10 minutes of the restart.

Fromer Blackpool widemanMark Yeates’ clever pass over the top found ex-Coventry veteran McSheffrey, who lifted the ball over the advancing Lynch from eight yards.

The frantic start to the second period continued as the Coasters drew leve 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 home with aplomb.

Fylde should have put themselves ahead for the first time moments later, when Andy Bond had virtually an open goal before him but sliced wide after Smith’s strike was 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.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday star Johnson almost has his second when he rattled the crossbar with a bullet header from 10 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.

The Fylde top scorer was getting closer and the hosts required yet another quality save from Stack to deny Rowe , whose side are just one place above the bottom four.

DANIEL AGNEW

Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Grand, Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Bond, Jones (Tasdemir 70), Muldoon (McCready 82), Smith (Blinkhorn 89), Rowe; not used: Taylor, Richards.

Eastleigh: Stack, Boyce (Wood 64), Johnson, Howe, Green, Matthews (McAllister 75), Hollands, Miley, Yeates, Zebroski, McSheffrey (Williamson 82); subs not used: Constable, Abilene.

Att: 3,312 (52 away)

Ref: Sam Purkiss

More from Sport