Chesterfield 1 AFC Fylde 1: Nick Haughton rescues a point as Coasters rue missed chances

Jamie Proctor in the thick of the action on his Fylde debut at Chesterfield Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Jamie Proctor in the thick of the action on his Fylde debut at Chesterfield Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

AFC Fylde came back from a goal down to record a draw at fellow strugglers Chesterfield but will be disappointed that it wasn’t three.

AFC Fylde came back from a goal down to record a draw at fellow strugglers Chesterfield but will be disappointed that it wasn’t three.

Jamie Proctor was handed his debut, while club captain Lewis Montrose returned to the starting line-up at the heart of midfield.

The game started a tense, tight affair between the National League’s third- and fourth-bottom teams, with the Spireites looking to utilise the physical presence of forward Tom Denton.

Jordan Cropper looked to pick out both Denton and Scott Boden in the box but their headed efforts didn’t trouble Coasters keeper Sam Hornby.

Fylde’s first real chance came after Nick Haughton’s drive at goal freed up space for Proctor, who slipped in Ryan Croasdale but his powerful effort from just inside the box hit the side-netting.

Curtis Weston came close at the other end as he caught a volley sweetly after a corner was cleared but it whistled past Hornby’s post.

But just as the Coasters were growing in confidence and looked the more likely to open the scoring, they found themselves behind.

After Haughton had slipped Jordan Williams through one-on-one, it seemed as if the forward would open the scoring but keeper Shwan Jalal rushed out to win possession and launch a goalscoring counter attack.

The ball soon fell to Jonathan Smith, who struck a fantastic left-footed effort, which gave Sam Hornby absolutely no chance on 32 minutes.

This gave Chesterfield the advantage at the break, with the Coasters wondering how they were behind.

Fylde started the second half the better of the teams and almost levelled things very quickly.

Tom Walker, fresh from his goalscoring debut against Torquay, latched on to the ball after clever play by Haughton, took a touch but flashed his effort inches wide of the far post.

After a couple of changes for the hosts, which included the introduction of recent loan signing Nathan Tyson from Notts County, they looked a lot more composed.

Fylde kept working and, in a near carbon copy of their first-half opportunity, Haughton slipped Williams on goal. Once more, though, Jalal came out on top, rushing out quickly to foil Fylde’s top goalscorer.

But the Coasters did find the back of the net on 76 minutes, with Haughton the man causing problems once again.

A switch-off at the back for Chesterfield allowed Haughton to latch on to a long ball and thump home a swerving half-volley from the corner of the box, with Jalal unable to get a hand to it.

It was no less than the Coasters deserved and there was time to look for a winner.

Chesterfield, however, woke up after this and hit the woodwork as Will Evans rose highest at a corner, sending a looping header bouncing off the post.

The Coasters looked more likely to win the game and the golden chance again fell to Williams.

After Mark Yeates, who replaced Proctor, had controlled a cross by fellow substitute Dan Bradley, Williams tried an audacious back-heel from inside the six-yard box but again Jalal got the better of him, making a smart stop low to his left.

This was a positive Fylde performance but they remain in the bottom-three, without a league win in more than two months. Dagenham and Redbridge’s victory also means Fylde are now five points from safety, though with a game in hand.

Manager Jim Bentley said: “We’ve come here today and knew where we could hurt the opposition. We did a bit of work on direct play, which we knew would be the case for them with big Tom Denton.

“They get it into the channel and like to get the long throw, and of course they were in a bit of form (after back-to-back wins), so it was a difficult place to come.

“But I think we had the better chances in the first half, but we were disappointed in the way we conceded the goal. I don’t think we deserved to be behind at half-time.

But second half there was plenty of character shown. We created numerous opportunities – four or five glorious ones – to get back on level terms.

“On another day Jordan could be walking off with the match ball and it sums it up how their keeper Jalal gets man of the match.

“You can’t do a lot more really. We need to make better decisions in those areas but we can take lots of positives from today.”

Fylde: Hornby, Taylor, Byrne, Whitmore, Burke, Montrose, Croasdale, Haughton (Philliskirk 87), Walker (Bradley 81), Williams, Proctor (Yeates 66); subs not used: Lavercombe, Jameson.

Chesterfield: Jalal, Cropper (Weir 82), Yarney, Evans, Hollis, Buchanan, Wedgbury (Mandeville 56), Smith, Weston, Denton, Boden (Tyson 59); subs not used: Wharton, Sharman.

Referee: Andrew Kitchen

Attendance: 3,262