Chorley 1 AFC Fylde 3: Match report
AFC Fylde banished the disappointment of Boxing Day with a deserved win in this Victory Park rematch against their promotion rivals.
Despite falling behind a minute into the second half, Fylde staged a superb comeback with goals from Dom Collins, Dan Bradley and Andy Bond, who sealed victory at the end of 18 minutes of stoppage time which followed a worrying injury to home striker Marcus Carver.
The Coasters remain six points clear at the top of Vanarama National North and extended the advantage over their local rivals to nine points.
Manager Dave Challinor was without three key players, with James Hardy, Steve Williams and ex-Chorley striker Darren Stephenson all injured.
Fylde were quickly out of the traps and Chorley keeper Shaun Rowley had to be alert to keep out Brendon Daniels’ header at the back post inside two minutes.
Chorley’s game-plan was evident from the off, with long balls punted up to Carver, but it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous in the early stages, Bradley causing problems down the left.
The hosts had their first sight of goal on the 10-minute mark, when Matt Challoner found Jake Cottrell lurking at the far post, but the cross was just behind the winger and his header didn’t threaten.
A deep Fylde corner to the back-post eluded everyone but Bradley managed to get off a fierce strike that forced a smart save from Rowley. Collins was inches wide with a header from the resulting corner.
Rhys Taylor pulled off a fantastic fingertip save to deny Chorley after 20 minutes, when he reacted quickly to turn Kieran Charnock’s header over from point-blank range.
The match was becoming a scrappy, stop-start affair, with the pitch not conductive to free-flowing football.
A quick counter-attack saw Bohan Dixon race down the right but his low cross was just behind the three Fylde players on the six-yard line.
Chorley started the second half with a bang and took the lead in the opening minute, full-back Adam Blakeman firing a stunning first-time shot from outside the area into the top corner.
The visitors were back on level terms within five minutes. Daniels whipped in an inviting corner from the right and Collins rose highest to nod through a crowd.
Charnock was a whisker away from restoring his side’s lead when a long free-kick found him unmarked in the area, but the midfielder could only find the side-netting from six yards.
Midway through the second half the Coasters completed the turnaround. Macauley Wilson floated in a delightful ball from the right and Bradley got in front of his man to guide a header into the far corner.
There was a break in play, during which both teams retreated to their dressing rooms, while Chorley striker Carver received treatment after a nasty collision with Josh Langley.
This resulted in 18 minutes being added on by the referee and the momentum was with the home side.
Goalscorer Blakeman looked to double his tally with another vicious strike from Dale Whitham’s quick corner but lightning didn’t strike twice for the left-back.
Chorley almost found a way back into the game at the death, when Josh O’Keefe nodded across goal to Adam Roscoe, but the midfielder was adjudged to have fouled keeper Taylor .
Bradley was close to putting the game to bed but dragged his shot from the edge of the area wide.
The Coasters did put the final nail in Chorley’s coffin with a sensational breakaway goal in the final minute of injury-time. Danny Rowe stole down the right before slipping in Bradley, who in turn put the ball on a plate for Bond to tap home from two yards.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Wilson, Langley, Collins, Kennedy, Bond, C. Hughes, Bradley, Dixon (Baker 90), Daniels (M. Hughes 90), Rowe; subs not used: Povey, Loftus, Reid
Chorley: Rowley, Challoner, Blakeman, Sheron (Teague 77), Leather, Charnock, Roscoe, Whitham, Carver (O’Keefe 67), Cofie (Southworth 80), Cottrell; subs not used: Beesley, Azam
Ref: Matthew Donohue