AFC Fylde 1, Kendal Town 1
(Kendal won 5-3 on pens)
AFC Fylde’s hopes of retaining the Lancashire FA Trophy were dashed in a quarter-final shootout by a Kendal side who play a division above them in the Evo-Stik League.
Every one of the penalties was converted except that by Joe Booth, whose effort was saved by former Fleetwood keeper Craig Dootson, diving to his right.
It meant the Cumbrians are now just one game away from the final on the Reebok Stadium turf which Fylde graced last season.
The Coasters could argue they were the better side throughout the match, particularly in the second half.
They went 1-0 up after just 11 minutes thanks to Keigan Parker’s deft lob over the keeper from the edge of the area.
Booth won the ball on halfway from a well-timed tackle and duly released Parker, who took his chance superbly.
Kendal equalised just seven minutes later through former Blackpool and Fleetwood midfielder Ciaran Donnelly.
Jordan Connerton’s initial shot from inside the box was blocked but the rebound fell to Donnelly, who expertly slotted it into the bottom left of Danny McDonald’s goal.
It was end-to-end from then on, and with 23 minutes gone Matty Kay missed an excellent chance to put the Coasters back in front.
Booth played the ball to Michael Barnes on the left of Kendal’s area and he crossed for Kay to slide in but shoot narrowly wide from a tight angle.
Kieran Walmsley, yet another Fleetwood old boy, then threatened with two free-kicks in as many minutes around the half-hour mark.
His first attempt was spilled by McDonald, who he recovered well, and his second was deflected on to the post.
As the half drew to a close, Booth saw his angled shot well saved by Dootson and the sides went in level at the break.
In the second period, Kendal started the brighter, with two attempts at goal, firstly from Walmsley on 49 minutes and secondly from Sean Grey ten minutes later, both dealt with well by the Fylde defence.
Kay was in the thick of the action again on 67 minutes, when he almost latched on to a well-placed through-ball from young Ross Ainsworth and a minute later he tried to play in Michael Barnes but Dootson read the pass and was first to the ball.
The home side were dominating possession at this stage, resulting in further attempts from Adam Sumner on the edge of the visitors, box and from Kay, who collected a clearance and tried a speculative shot from fully 40 yards out which missed the mark by a whisker.
With nine minutes to go, Fylde created another great chance when Michael Barnes’ pass from out wide found Booth on the edge of the box. He laid it off for Bradley Barnes to take a shot which scraped the top of the bar.
Donnelly then forced a save from McDonald on 82 minutes, then three minutes later Peter Wright was caught offside when played through one-on-one.
It wasn’t to be for Fylde, though, as the lottery of penalties loomed.
And when Booth missed Fylde’s first, Kendal never gave the Coasters a way back in as they converted all five.
Despite the result, Fylde manager Dave Challinor was happy. He said: “I was pleased with the way the lads played and I got a good look at a couple of the young lads, which was my main aim.
“We’ve got a big few weeks coming up now, with two big local derbies against Bamber Bridge and Lancaster, but hopefully before then we can get a result here on Saturday against Durham.”
AFC Fylde: McDonald, Heywood, Sumner, Steel (C), Doughty, Kay, Booth, B. Barnes (McNiven 86), Parker (Egidi 58), M. Barnes, Ainsworth; not used: Jones, Allen.
*SQUIRES Gate’s North West Counties premier division match at home to Padiham was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.