LOWESTOFT TOWN 3
Manager Dave Challinor wasn’t looking for excuses after Fylde’s miserable night in Lowestoft. Tom Hannigan’s own goal gifted the hosts the lead before Danny Rowe equalised with his 27th goal of the season.
However, Michael Spillane and a Jake Reed penalty sealed the three points against Fylde, who saw Sam Finley dismissed late on for dissent.
The pitch passed a 5pm inspection, Lowestoft having earlier made a premature announcement that the game had been postponed. The Coasters may now wish it had been.
Manager Dave Challinor was forced into making one change from the side that beat Gloucester City at the weekend, with Dom Collins replacing the injured Caspar Hughes at right-back.
The late arrival of several Lowestoft players saw the kick-off delayed by 15 minutes and it was Fylde, in their striking orange away shirt, who fashioned the first chance of the evening when Lloyd broke into the Lowestoft box inside the first minute, but his left-footed effort was deflected over.
Just five minutes in and the Coasters were behind. Ryan Jarvis whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left and Hannigan turned the ball into the bottom corner of his own net.
The defender almost made immediate amends when he fired over from six yards from Richie Baker’s inswinging corner kick.
Defensive partner Collins had the next opportunity in the 13th minute but he too was off-target with a glancing header.
A quiet 10-minute spell was brought to life when Town’s prolific frontman Reed broke free but chose not to play in a team-mate and his strike was snuffed out.
Rowe came agonisingly close to levelling the scores when he unleashed a trademark rocket free-kick, but his strike was eventually claimed by Ben Killip in the Lowestoft goal.
However, he was successful with his next meaningful attempt and drew the Coasters level on 36 minutes.
Finley crossed from the right and Rowe climbed highest to flick his header into the far corner of the net.
Forward Chris Henderson almost put the hosts straight back into the lead when he met Jarvis’ corner, but his right-footed shot was narrowly wide of Matt Urwin’s post.
Baker had a wild swipe for the visitors a couple of minutes before the break, but his left-footed thunderbolt was high and wide.
Challinor made a double change at the interval, with Dion Charles and Matt Blinkhorn replacing Collins and Lloyd as the Coasters reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
There was very little action in the opening 10 minutes of the second half before Finley broke down the left and delivered a cross to Blinkhorn but the midfielder was adjudged offside.
The hosts were back ahead on 59 minutes and it was a goal of real quality as Spillane curled a first-time effort from the edge of the area into the far corner.
The play raced straight up to the other end from the restart and the Coasters were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out that Baker struck straight at Killip.
Substitute Blinkhorn was presented with a glorious opportunity moments later, when he was slipped through by Rowe. However his low drive was wide of the keeper’s right post.
The game was becoming an end to end affair and both defender Adam Smith and Spillane fired well over from successive dangerous freekicks.
Finley looked to drag his side back into the match on 67 minutes, yet after twisting and turning on the edge of the Lowestoft area he was wide with his end product.
Hannigan’s match went from bad to worse when he hauled down Henderson in the area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Reed duly dispatched the spot-kick with aplomb and, to make matters worse still, Finley was dismissed for a second yellow card in the ensuing protests.
Fylde were beginning to lose their discipline and could have netted a second own goal of the evening when Adam Sumner turned Shaun Bammant’s cross inches wide of his own post.
Rowe could have pulled one back for the Coasters five minutes from time but he lashed his first-time piledriver into the grateful arms of Killip.
The defeat means Fylde slip a spot to fourth, still seven points behind leaders Solihull Moors having used up their game in hand.
The Coasters boss said: “It was a bad day at the office and there were too many uncharacteristic mistakes from usually reliable players.
“It was always going to be a tight game with the conditions and pitch as they were, but fundamental mistakes have cost us and to concede off set-pieces is disappointing.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb just five minutes in. It was not a great day and we are all hurting, but we will see how much we are hurting with our reaction on Saturday against Stalybridge.
“We made a couple of changes at half-time to try and be a bit more direct, but if you concede goals in the manner we did you always make it difficult for yourself.
“I thought the penalty was very soft and it was more a case of their striker winning it rather than us giving it away.
“Our discipline is usually very good and the lads who do fall foul of poor discipline will pay the price.”
Fylde had travelled to Suffolk on Monday, and Challinor said their preparations had not been hampered by the game being called off before finally going ahead.
He added: “The game should have never been in doubt. It was called off in the morning by the groundsman but an inspection later in the day confirmed it would go ahead.
“Although the pitch wasn’t great that wasn’t the reason for the defeat. We were totally prepared for the game and we should have started much better than we did.”
Lowestoft Town: Killip, Barker, Smith, Fisk, Spillane, Kyprianou, Hodd, Jarvis (Bammant 66), Reed (Crow 82), Jarvis, Henderson.
Fylde: Urwin, Collins (Charles 45), Hannigan, Crainey, Sumner, Baker, Barnes, Finley, M. Hughes (Hardy 79), Lloyd (Blinkhorn 45), Rowe.