Hartlepool United 2 AFC Fylde 2: Toure haunts Coasters but late strikes maintain unbeaten start

Matty Kosylo gets the final touch for Fylde's first goal
Matty Kosylo gets the final touch for Fylde's first goal

AFC Fylde fought back from two goals down to keep their unbeaten start intact thanks to two late strikes in the north-east.

READ MORE: Challinor bids to build on fine start
Former Coasters striker Gime Toure's brace was cancelled out by Matty Kosylo and Ryan Croasdale.

Manager Dave Challinor made two changes to the side which had beaten Ebbsfleet on Saturday, with Jordan Williams making his full debut in place of Mark Yeates and Danny Philliskirk recalled at the expense of Dan Bradley.

It didn’t take long for Toure to remind his former side of his ability. After just three minutes, Toure picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a shot which flew into the top right corner.

Neill Byrne headed over from a Nick Haughton corner but the visitors looked a little shellshocked, with the hosts lively on the break.

But Fylde soon began to dominate possession, Haughton firing over on 15 minutes after linking up with Danny Rowe.

Byrne came to Fylde's rescue, closing Niko Muir down after Luke Burke had been dispossessed in his own half.

But the Coasters were looking the more likely to score next and Haughton almost did so five minutes before the break, when his swerving shot took keeper Ben Killip completely by surprise and thundered against a post.

As the ball rebounded into play, the panicking Killip found himself caught up in the netting, but his defence managed to deny Fylde another shooting opportunity before the keeper disentangled himself.

There was still time before the break for Pools to strike the woodwork themselves. Muir's long-range effort almost punished some slack defending but the ball bounced off a post.

Trailing for the first time this season, Challinor made a double substitution for the second half, introducing Kosylo and Yeates in place of Burke and Williams.

Kosylo linked up with Scott Duxbury down the left with pace and energy, soon causing the home defence problems.

Duxbury’s crossing ability has perhaps been Fylde’s most consistent threat so far this season and it proved to be the case again, defenders Fraser Kerr and Michael Raynes having to be on form to deal with the danger.

However, it was a Duxbury cross which paved the way for Hartlepool's second on 59 minutes.

When the cross was blocked they quickly mounted a counter-attack as Nicky Featherstone's through-back found the confident Toure.

He got the better of James Craigen before beating keeper James Montgomery with a brilliant finish into the top right corner.

It took until the 81st minute for Fylde to find a way back into the game and they did so with Kosylo's first goal for the club.

When Rowe delivered a deep, searching cross from wide on the right, Kosylo and Croasdale both appeared to get a touch but the winger's was the decisive one, finding the bottom right corner.

And within three minutes the Coasters were level in similar circumstances.

Again Rowe delivered into the box from the right, though the cross was higher this time and found the advancing Croasdale, who saw the ball loop into the top right corner via a combination of head and shoulder.

A grandstand finish saw Hartlepool go close to a winner when Muir headed wide deep into stoppage time.

Fylde will be the happier of the sides despite dropping two places to sixth in the National League - they are only two points behind early pace-setters Solihull Moors.

A relieved Challinor said : “It takes many things to be a successful side and character is one of them. We needed a break and we got that with the first goal. And of course, goals do change games.

"Gime is a threat but we know what he’s about. He’s unpredictable but ultimately for him it’s about doing that on a consistent basis.

“They were always going to try and defend their lead and we had them camped in in the second half, so getting the second in quick succession changed the outlook.”

Hartlepool: Killip, Donaldson (James 69), Kerr, Mafuta, Cunningham (Holohan 85), Raynes, Kitching, Featherstone, Noble (Kennedy 60), Toure, Muir; subs not used: Bale, Crichlow-Noble.

Fylde: Montgomery, Duxbury, Burke (Kosylo 45), Byrne, Whitmore, Craigen (Bradley 69), Croasdale, Philliskirk, Williams (Yeates 45), Haughton, Rowe; subs not used: Jameson, , Willoughby

Referee: Gareth Rhodes

Attendance: 3,222