Match report: AFC Fylde 2 Sutton United 1
AFC Fylde picked off yet another promotion rival at Mill Farm, beating Sutton United 2-1 to further strengthen their play-off hopes with just four games to play.
Sutton’s Tommy Wright looked to have secured all three points for the visitors but two goals inside three second-half minutes from Jonny Smith and Danny Rowe turned the game on its head.
Coasters’ manager Dave Challinor welcomed defender Zaine Francis-Angol back from injury, with Jack Muldoon dropping to the bench.
Wright gave the Coasters an early scare with a vicious half-volley from just inside the area but Jay Lynch got a fingertip to the ball and nudged it over the bar.
After a sluggish start, the hosts came to life with a spell of sustained pressure with numerous corner and crosses whipped into the Sutton box but to no avail.
However, it was Sutton who broke the deadlock as Wright raced forward, leaving Simon Grand for dead before lashing a strike into the bottom right-hand corner.
The game was becoming a real stop-start affair with neither side able to get into any rhythm and the referee spending more time arguing with Sutton boss Paul Doswell than letting the game flow.
Even when play did get going, the ball did not drop for the home side as Rowe sent a free-kick – and the rebound – into the Sutton wall.
The Coasters came out after half-time with a new lease of life, Sam Finley threading a delicious ball through to Luke Burke who in turn sent it across goal but just out of the reach of Rowe.
There was a notable improvement from the drab first-half showing with the hosts knocking the ball around well but the final ball was still lacking.
Andy Bond whipped one in that was neither cross nor shot as the pressure started to mount.
An equalising goal seemed to be on the cards and Finley was a whisker away when goalkeeper Jamie Butler tipped his rasping drive around the post at full stretch.
Midfielder James Hardy found himself with space to shoot on the edge of the box but saw his tame effort deflected away with ease.
Kieron Cadogan fashioned a rare chance for the visitors – almost their first since scoring – when his first-time, sidefooted effort from 20 yards was well claimed by Lynch at the far post.
The Coasters’ deserved equaliser finally arrived with just 13 minutes remaining.
Smith burst down the left and smashed a shot across goal that looped up off Simon Downer and over Butler into the far corner of the goal.
The comeback was completed when Downer got the ball caught under his feet and Rowe needed no second invitation to curl a strike into the far corner, out of the reach of Butler.
Sutton’s Simon Walton thought he had nicked a last-gasp leveller in the final seconds but his glancing header flashed inches wide.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol, Bond (Tasdemir 62), Montrose, Finley, Hardy (Muldoon 67), Smith (Lawlor 86), Rowe. Subs not used: Blinkhorn, Taylor.
Sutton United: Butler, T Thomas, Downer (Harrison 83), John, A Thomas, Walton, Davis, Eastmond, Cadogan, Bolarinwa (Stearn 83), Wright (Dundas 70). Subs not used: Beckwith, Beautyman.
Referee: Thomas Bramall.