Coasters draw a blank

Allen - takes on a Stockport defender
Allen - takes on a Stockport defender
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AFC Fylde 0, Stockport County 0

Seven summers ago these two sides were six levels apart on the football pyramid.

In May 2008 both teams won at Wembley, Stockport County beating Rochdale 3-2 at to gain promotion to League One via the play-off final, while the Coasters lifted the FA Vase thanks to a 2-1 win over Lowestoft Town.

The Coasters also gained promotion to the North West Counties Premier Division that season.

The manner in which the two sides have moved through the leagues since is incredible, but they met at Kellamergh Park in a very entertaining Conference North encounter which may not have had the goals, but certainly had the chances.

Danny Lloyd caused havoc on the right for Fylde early on and was easily the best player on the pitch in the early stages.

He was very unlucky to see his effort sail wide on six 
minutes after squirming through three defenders to find space.

Former Curzon Ashton striker Kristian Dennis and team-mate Chris Sharp failed to find the target a minute
later in the visitors’ first meaningful attack on the Fylde goal.

It was a true midfield battle, with both sides playing 
entertaining football across the park, but neither creating a lot going forward.

Lloyd let another chance go begging after great build-up play between Allen, Sumner and new signing Josh Wilson when, after 32 minutes, he could only shoot wide with his weaker right foot.

Wilson got an attempt on goal himself four minutes later, but he could not get his header from Lloyd’s cross on target.

Three minutes before the break, County won a corner and Steve O’Halloran should have scored ,but Ben Hinchliffe managed to stop his header on the line before the danger was cleared.

Following another County corner right on half-time, Richie Allen broke down the left from inside his own box, rode the challenge from 
Dennis and raced into the area, but agonisingly he pulled his shot inches wide of the right post.

The second period continued in the same gusto, with Fylde man of the match Caspar Hughes constantly breaking down the right, with former Coasters captain Jamie Milligan and Dennis pushing County

Dennis’ strike five minutes into the half forced Hinchliffe into a decent save before Hughes fed Michael Barnes at the other end, and he had time to cut inside and force a save from Danny Hurst.

It was proper end-to-end football for much of the second half, but neither keeper could be beaten, Allen and Wilson testing Hurst and Jamie 
Milligan keeping Hinchliffe busy.

With 15 minutes to go, an excellent run from Hughes 
allowed Mike Barnes to send a decent low cross into the six-yard box, but Hurst managed to beat Lloyd to the ball and clear the danger.

After Allen sent another curling effort wide, Tom Hannigan slid in hard on Richie Baker to see yellow, but the Fylde wall stood strong to block Lee Stevenson’s 20-yard free-kick.

Michael Potts missed a huge chance for Fylde with just two minutes to go.

He thought he had scored only to see Danny Gregson fly across to block his shot on the line.

And with seconds of 
normal time remaining, Allen could have won it for the home side with a mazy run to the edge of the box, but he shot high and wide.

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor felt his side had dropped two points.

He said: “We had three gilt-edged chances to score and they should have been scored.

“Two of those have been one-on-ones and we haven’t forced a save from the keeper. But at the other end we kept a clean sheet, which was pleasing.”

He doesn’t have to wait long for the return fixture at Stockport, which is Fylde’s next league match a week tomorrow.

Before then, the Coasters entertain Hednesford Town in the FA Trophy third qualifying round on Saturday.