Esher 42 Fylde 29: Match report
This followed a familiar pattern to previous away losses '“ a hefty first-half deficit, a plucky second-half comeback but ultimately defeat to another side struggling in the lower half of National One.
Every point now is invaluable, so Fylde’s four-try bonus point was a welcome consolation.
After an even start, Fylde’s cause wasn’t helped when free-scoring winger Anthony Bingham was forced off injured after 12 minutes and Esher opened the scoring two minutes later, when centre Tom Cheeseman slipped through some tackles to score between the posts and fly-half Paul Roberts converted.
Fylde reduced the deficit when fly-half Greg Smith kicked a penalty on 20 minutes but a minute later it was 14-3 as flanker Charlie Gossington forced his way over and Roberts added the goal.
By the 36th minute, Esher had added tries by scrum-half Andy Garner (after a Fylde lineout went awry) and winger Joe Beckett, both converted by Roberts, and were out of sight at 28-3.
Fylde’s revival began just before the interval when number eight Matt Rogerson powered over from close range, Smith’s goal making it 28-10 at the break. Esher extended their advantage when scrum-half Garner scored his second but Fylde took advantage of winger Beckett’s sinbinning in the 54th minute.
Scrum-half Greg Nicholls chipped over the defence and lock Jack Turley touched down. Smith’s conversion made it 35-17.
Fylde had real momentum and scored again against the 14 men when Sam Bedlow went over in the corner, David Fairbrother having been stopped inches short, but Smith missed the touchline conversion.
Fairbrother was not to be denied and sealed the bonus point on 67 minutes, Smith’s goal bringing Fylde within a score of an extraordinary turnaround at 35-29.
But Esher had the last laugh as their sixth try by winger Tom James ensured the Surrey club leapfrogged 13th-placed Fylde, who have lost all three games in 2017.
Fylde: Briers; Bailey, Armstrong, Bedlow, Bingham (Dowds 12); Smith, Nicholls (Dever 56); Griffiths (Wild 61), Burtonwood, Lewis, Garrod, Turley, Lamprey (Brookes 61), Fairbrother, Rogerson; Not used: Gregory.