AFC Fylde 3 Brackley Town 3: Top-two battle ends with honours even

The Coasters maintained top spot in National League North after sharing the spoils in a six-goal thriller with their nearest challengers on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 14th November 2021, 12:30 pm

Wes York opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half, before goals in quick succession from Nick Haughton and Emeka Obi put the Coasters in front.

Lee Ndlovu equalised for the visitors before Haughton’s second goal of the afternoon put Jim Bentley’s players ahead again.

However, Tre Mitford’s late goal earned the visitors a point at Mill Farm.

AFC Fylde defender Emeka Obi celebrates with Nick Haughton and Jamie Stott Picture: Steve McLellan

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Bentley made two changes to the side which suffered defeat against Curzon Ashton, with David Perkins returning to the side in place of Luke Joyce and Sam Osborne replacing Jordan Hulme.

The top-of-the-table encounter at Mill Farm got off to a fast start as the Coasters had an opportunity inside the first five minutes.

The ball fell invitingly into Joe Piggott’s path, inside the six-yard box, but the forward’s effort was blocked.

Fylde continued to put pressure on their visitors in their efforts to break the deadlock.

Haughton’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected into the path of Piggott, but the latter’s close-range effort was well saved by Danny Lewis.

It was the visitors who went ahead just before the half-hour mark when York converted Ndlovu’s cross from the right-hand side.

It meant Brackley were ahead at half-time, after which both sides had opportunities in the early stages of the second period.

The home side saw Luke Conlan’s cross met by Haughton, who failed to keep his left-footed effort on target.

The visitors also had a chance of their own moments later, but Louis Lomas failed to direct his near post header on target from a corner.

Bentley saw his players’ pressure pay off just after the hour mark as they scored two quickfire goals.

Haughton, who was a constant threat throughout, drove forward with the ball into the penalty area and found the back of the net to put them on level terms.

Moments later, Haughton then set up their second goal of the afternoon, as his inviting corner was met by Obi, who rose highest to guide a powerful header past Lewis and score his first competitive goal for the club.

The goalmouth action did not stop there as the visitors drew level from Ndlovu’s close-range header.

Haughton then restored the Coasters’ lead with a curling effort, deflected up and over Lewis, sending Mill Farm into pandemonium.

However, after pressure from the visitors, substitute Mitford earned them a dramatic late point by latching onto an inviting delivery and firing past Fylde keeper Chris Neal.

AFC Fylde: Neal, Lloyd, Obi, Stott, Conlan, Philliskirk, Perkins (Joyce 6), Tollitt, Osborne (Sampson 77), Haughton, Piggott (Nolan 86). Subs not used: Hulme, Dobbie.

Brackley Town: Lewis, Lomas, Franklin (Mitford 83), Murombedzi, Walker, Dean, Lowe, Richards (Armson 60), Ndlovu, York Yusuf. Subs not used: Rolt, Cullinane-Liburd, Myles.

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