AFC Fylde 0, Warrington Town 0
LEADERS Fylde moved a point ahead of title rivals Curzon Ashton despite dropping their first points for two months in Evo-Stik First Division North.
Dave Challinor’s side missed out on a tenth successive league victory after Michael Barnes squandered the their best opportunity for a goal on 12 minutes.
Warrington finished the game with ten men after Nick Jackson’s second bookable offence with two minutes to go, but despite five minutes of stoppage time the home side could find no way through a resolute Town defence.
Fylde started the brighter and Joe Booth almost scored straight from a corner with nine minutes gone.
A minute later, Booth played a fine ball through to Andy Fowler but he was judged narrowly offside.
Barnes then caught defender River Humphries dallying inside his own area, but after doing the hard part he could only fire his shot into the side-netting when one-on-one with keeper Paul Pritchard.
The Coasters wouldn’t have a better chance, though midway through the first half, Jim Heywood fired off-target from Paul Jarvis’ corner in what looked like a training ground move.
Five minutes before the break, Jackson created the first chance for Warrington, but his final shot was well wide.
The home side had the final say before the break, when defender Phil Doughty half-volleyed high over the bar from another corner.
Four minutes into the second period, Jackson went down in the box but the referee booked the midfielder for diving.
Despite continued pressure from the Coasters, the Warrington defence was not giving anything away. Glen Steel popped up with a long-range effort on 53 minutes, and nine minutes later no-one could get on the end of Booth’s deep cross.
Rob Hardwick outjumped the Fylde defence on 67 minutes but keeper Zac Jones collected his header comfortably.
Fylde’s defence had to be switched on again with six minutes to go as Hardwick tried to turn and shoot in the area, then Jackson was sent for an early bath after a foul on Booth. The resulting free-kick was certainly within range for the Fylde midfielder but he could only send the ball high over the bar.
Boss Challinor was left to rue missed opportunities, saying: “I said before the game the first half was going to be crucial, as the forecast said the temperature would drop and the surface would become more difficult to play on.
“It was going to be a mistake rather than a bit of good play that won the game as it was difficult to keep your feet. But we were left to rue the opportunities and positions we had in the first half.
“However, we’ve not been beaten and we’ll take that. All credit to Warrington as they came here to get the draw and they did that.”
The Coasters now move on the Saturday’s 1pm kick-off at bottom club Cammell Laird.
FYLDE: Jones, Heywood, Sumner (Nightingale 85), Doughty, Steel, B. Barnes, Booth, Kay, Fowler, M. Barnes, Jarvis (Waddington 82); not used: Ainsworth, McDonald, Mercer.