Fylde dent County title hopes with last-gasp leveller

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Fylde 2-2 County

Photo by Jay Theis

Fylde left it late to grab a deserved point against a County side looking to return to the top of the table.

Both sides needed three points from this game as only a win would keep Fylde’s slim title hopes alive. Pride was also at stake given the rivalry between the two colleges.

The game started lively and within the first five minutes, County came close to taking the lead. A cross from the right found striker Rupert Roberts who failed to take his chance as his shot was comfortably pushed onto the post by keeper Johnny Gittins.

County, who had started the brighter, took the lead a few minutes later. From a corner, Andres Fries found himself unmarked and slotted his effort past Gittins and into the bottom corner. Fylde immediately hit back, Dan Maloney had a shot blocked on the edge of the box and Chris Brown also had a shot well saved by Tom Kay.

Then, in the 25th minute Fylde grabbed an equalizer; a good ball in from winger Andy Thurlwell found Brown who headed into the top corner leaving Kay with little chance of saving it.

The goal gave Fylde confidence and belief that they could take the lead before half time. Thurlwell was testing the defence with good balls from the right and Brown had a shot which was deflected over the bar.

Fylde began the second half as they finished the first, but they were well kept out by County’s defence who weren’t allowing Fylde’s attackers to get a clear shot on goal.

County were hitting Fylde on the counter-attack and one of these breaks led to their second goal. A long ball by Kay split the Fylde defence causing Gittins to rush out and clear. However, his clearance fell to Roberts who shot from far out to put County back in front.

County then went into defensive mode and absorbed Fylde’s attacks which were failing in the final third. Both sides were strong in the tackles and, combined with the passion from both sets of supporters, the game threatened to spill over. Fylde were forced to shoot from long range and both Brown and Maloney saw their shots fly over the crossbar.

As the game looked to be coming to a close, Fylde got a free kick midway in County’s half. Defender Marcus Stephens played the ball short to Brown who played a return pass back to Stephens who whipped a ball into the box and Josh Corringham headed the ball into the bottom corner. Fylde could have won the game with the last kick of the game as Corringham found himself in space just outside the box; his effort however went over the bar.

The result doesn’t help either side. Fylde’s title chances are now pretty much over as they slip further behind Cartmel and Pendle. County, who were playing catch up on Pendle would have gone top with a win. Instead, they are now a point behind Pendle having played the same amount of fixtures. They will be hoping Fylde do them a favour next week when they face Pendle.

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