Alfreton Town 1 AFC Fylde 1: Ethan Walker makes late entrance to save day for Coasters

Ethan Walker's late strike at the Impact Arena Stadium earned Fylde a draw and kept them unbeaten in National League North.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 9:32 am

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An entertaining fixture saw the Derbyshire side take the lead after half-time when Bailey Hobson forced the ball home after a scramble in the Fylde penalty area.

However, substitute Walker had not been on the pitch for five minutes when his terrific strike from just inside the 18-yard box salvaged a point in the 84th minute.

Ethan Walker (right) celebrates his equaliser at Alfreton with fellow substitute Joe Piggott Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Jim Bentley made two changes to the Coasters side which had defeated Kidderminster Harriers two weeks earlier as Emeka Obi and Stephen Dobbie came into the starting XI to replace Dan Pike and Sam Osborne.

The Coasters started brightly but it was Alfreton who had the first chance, when Dayle Southwell found space behind the Fylde defence, though Chris Neal got down well to keep out his powerful effort on goal.

Nick Haughton then managed to dispossess the hosts in the final third and drive towards goal. He twisted and turned but couldn’t quite generate enough power on his shot to trouble George Willis.

It looked as though the Coasters had then taken the lead through Jack Sampson after he met Ben Tollitt’s cross in the six-yard box only to be denied by Willis’ outstretched arm.

Haughton was causing problems, as always, and he was brought down by Rob Evans just outside the area after a skilful run towards goal.

The attacking midfielder picked himself up and took the free-kick but struck the bar with his effort as the first half ended goalless.

Five minutes into the second half, it was nearly advantage Fylde when Obi floated a superb ball over the Town defence for Dobbie to run on to. The striker took one touch and stung the palms of Willis.

The Coasters were in the ascendency, and Haughton nearly had Fylde in front when he drifted inside from the left and looked to bend an effort in at the far post but he fired wide.

However, it was an Alfreton side seeking a fourth successive league victory who took the lead on 56 minutes.

Confusion in the Fylde penalty area resulted in a cross being headed against his own post by Jamie Stott.

The ball fell to Yusifu Ceesay, whose shot was blocked by Alex Whitmore only for Hobson to turn in the rebound.

The goal gave the hosts confidence and Ceesay tried to creep a shot in at the far post, though Neal was up to the task of keeping it out.

With six minutes on the clock, the Coasters got themselves back on level terms when Walker burst down the left, beat his man as he cut inside on to his right foot and rifled a strike into the far corner of the net.

The Coasters had a late scare when Hobson slipped a ball through for Elliot Reeves, but Neal was there to save the day with a last-ditch stop.

It meant Fylde's unbeaten league start stretches to eight games, though they have been knocked off the top by Brackley Town.

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