Brackley Town 0 AFC Fylde 0: Full report and reaction
Struggling Brackley frustrated Fylde by holding them to a draw for the second time this season in National North.
Both sides created plenty of half-chances but few that really tested either goalkeeper.
Coasters boss Dave Challinor stuck with the side that thumped Stockport County 4-0 on Easter Monday, with Richie Baker returning to the bench after suspension.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts, when David Moyo failed to shoot with the ball stuck under his feet. It eventually fell to Matt Lowe, who curled an effort over Ben Hinchliffe’s bar.
Glenn Walker almost gave Brackley the lead after Moyo dispossessed Josh Langley and fed his team-mate, who bent an effort narrowly over.
A swift Fylde counter-attack resulted in Matty Hughes finding James Hardy on the left but he couldn’t quite get a shot away.
Good work from Hughes on the right saw him release Danny Rowe, who drilled a cross low across the face of goal but the ball was deflected away for a throw. Finley tried his luck from 20 yards but dragged his shot wide of Sam Hornby’s goal.
Brackley went close when Lee Ndlovu was first to a corner at the far post but could only find the side-netting.
Brackley’s pacy front two of Moyo and Ndlovu were keeping Hannigan and Langley busy, while at the other end Fylde were having problems breaking down a resolute Saints defence. A
Adam Sumner did have an effort for the Coasters just before the break but fired well over from 25 yards.
Challinor brought on Danny Lloyd for Matty Hughes in the second half, and the visitors had the first chance when Charles shot well over from the right edge of the box.
Brackley came closest to taking the lead when captain Joe Clarke struck a fierce free kick from 20 yards which Hinchliffe did well to tip over for a corner. Striker Moyo then managed to trick his way past Langley but wasted a good chance by misplacing a pass in the box.
The Coasters created a decent chance of their own when Lloyd jinked past two defenders and teed up Finley , but he curled his shot straight at Hornby.
Danny Rowe had another chance seconds later but fired over from a similar distance.
Fylde began to dominate and remained patient in their approach, though the final ball too often went astray on a very bobbly pitch.
Rowe turned his marker and made a charge for goal, but he took one touch too many and was dispossessed before pulling the trigger.
Rowe’s low cross from the left then resulted in a goalmouth scramble and a penalty claim which didn’t interest the referee.
The final action saw another free-kick from Brackley captain Joe Clarke tipped over by Hinchliffe. Now unbeaten in seven, the Coasters travel to Stalybridge Celtic tomorrow.
Frustrated Fylde manager Dave Challinor admitted the goalless stalemate at Brackley was a fair outcome.
Challinor said: “We really weren’t at the races but we have to give credit to the opposition. It was a tough pitch and you could tell it was near the end of the season. It was unbelievably dry and it didn’t allow us to play an awful lot of football.
“The longer the game went on it was always going to be one goal that won it, though neither side looked like scoring.
“We had a 10-minute spell in the second half when we put a bit of pressure on, but the harder we tried the worse it got and frustration set in.
“The positives are that we came away with a clean sheet and a point.
The way they set up, we needed to get wide more and we didn’t work hard enough to create anything. We got into some good positions but we looked like we were trying to score the perfect goal every time. We needed to get our shots away more quickly.
“We didn’t have any clear- cut chances and I think Brackley were similar.
“We wanted to win today to keep the pressure on and it’s frustrating that we have dropped points.”
North Ferriby were also held to a draw, by Worcester City, so remain above third-placed Fylde on goal difference, though champions-elect Solihull Moors are almost home and dry after stretching their lead to 14 points.
Fylde: Hinchliffe, C Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, Barnes, Hardy (Baker 70), Finley, Charles (Collins 82), M Hughes (Lloyd 45), Rowe
Brackley: Hornby, Hornby, Phillips, McDonald, Clarke, Graham, Slade, Tilney, Lowe, Ndlovu, Moyo, Walker;
Fylde top scorer Rowe has been named the Vanarama National North player of the month for March.
The striker scored five goals in the Coasters’ six unbeaten games last month, bagging two against Corby.
Rowe tops the league scoring charts with 20 for the season and has 32 goals inall competitiorns.
The 27-year-old said: “I won this award years ago when I was at Droylsden (in November 2011), so it is nice to finally win it again. Now the aim is to keep performing and help the club win promotion.”