Coasters held up in title drive

Lloyd - on target for Coasters
Lloyd - on target for Coasters
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AFC Fylde 1, Tamworth 1

The Coasters had to settle for a point against the Lambs despite taking the lead in the second half of this top-of-the-table clash at Kellamergh Park.

Substitute Danny Lloyd made no mistake from six yards, converting Richie Allen’s cross from the right after 50 minutes.

However, Leon Mettam equalised after 64 minutes with an acrobatic finish, leaving second-placed Fylde three points behind Vanarama Conference North leaders Barrow with a game in hand.

The Coasters made four changes to the team which had drawn at bottom club Hyde a week earlier, with Tom Hannigan, Joe Booth, Matt Blinkhorn and Allen coming in.

Danny Lloyd, Danny Rowe and Matt Hamilton dropped to the bench, while illness ruled out Caspar Hughes as Fylde proceeded to dominate the first half.

It was nearly a great start for the home side as Allen received the ball just outside the box and fired in a right foot shot which cannoned off a post. It was the first shot of the game and the closest either side came to scoring in the first half.

Winger Mike Barnes came off after 15 minutes with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by the energetic Lloyd, who was a menace throughout.

Tamworth had goalkeeper and captain James Belshaw to thank for a goalless first half as he made a couple of very good saves.

First, Allen tried his luck from 30 yards with his left foot but Belshaw managed to get across and tip the behind for a corner, from which captain Brad Barnes shot just wide.

It was all Fylde as Lloyd beat a man in the box but his shot was smothered by the impressive Belshaw.

Another chance went begging as Allen cut inside from the right and curled a shot just over.

Allen and Lloyd had further chances before Joe Booth shot just wide of the far post from outside the box.

Next, Adam Sumner’s dangerous free-kick was flicked on at the near-post by Josh Wilson but Belshaw was there again to save the day for the visitors.

Just after half-time, Lloyd managed to squirm free in the box but shot into the side-netting, frustrating those cheering Coasters fans who thought the striker had found the net.

But they had only a moment to wait for a genuine goal to cheer and it was that man Lloyd again.

Again the striker found space in a crowded penalty area to apply a clinical finish, which was no more than the home side deserved.

Allen thought he had added a second goal moments later but a marginal offside decision saw the effort ruled out.

Booth’s shot from just inside the box was palmed away for a corner by Belshaw as the Coasters peppered the Lambs goal in search of a precious two-goal cushion.

And they paid the price for not taking their chances when Mettam pegged Fylde back against the run of play with an outstanding piece of individual brilliance.

Fylde could have regained the lead straight from the restart but Booth couldn’t quite connect with Allen’s superb ball from the right.

This was a game Fylde dominated but the Lambs did have two chances to take the lead from corners, Joshua Sampson’s headers lacking power on both occasions.

Fylde boss Dave Challinor introduced Hamilton and Rowe for the final 10 minutes and the latter had two attempts from free-kicks, though neither troubled Belshaw and Fylde had to withstand some Lambs pressure in the closing moments.

The points lifts former Blackpool striker Andy Morrell’s Tamworth into third place, though they remain six points behind Fylde from two matches more.

They have overtaken a Hednesford side who lost to a resurgent Bradford Park Avenue and who will host Fylde on Tuesday night (7.45pm), when victory would send Challinor’s men top on goal difference.

Josh Langley was man of the match for Fylde, who have won just one of their last six in the league.