AFC Fylde Women played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Sunday against Halifax FC Women in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.
Photo: Heather Watson
The Coasters came within seconds of recording their first league win of the season but had to settle for a share of the spoils after the Eagles found the equaliser deep in stoppage time.
It was a bitter blow for Jack Garside's Fylde team, who came agonisingly close to clinching all three points but for a dramatic leveller right at the death.
It was not the first time this season that Rob Mitchell's Halifax side had battled back to rescue a point in the dying embers of the game. And on Sunday, the Eagles staged another fightback to come away with the draw.
Fylde made a sensational start with goals from Clara Samson and Ginny Lackey putting them in the ascendancy going into the half-time interval.
Halifax halved the deficit early in the second half when Shauna Legge netted from close range despite claims for a foul on home goalkeeper Liz Craven in the build-up.
With full-time approaching, the Eagles managed to draw level when Darcie Greene was on hand to score a 95th-minute equaliser and make it 2-2.
On an overcast afternoon at Kellamergh Park, the Coasters started on the front foot and forced an early corner after some excellent play by Samson down the wing. The resulting corner was cleared to safety.
Fylde then survived a scare in the fifth minute when the visitors hit the post, before the ball could be scrambled away from danger.
Minutes later, it was Fylde's turn to strike the frame of the goal. After Lily Murphy saw her initial attempt blocked, Lackey controlled the loose ball and teed up Emma Siddall, who hit a rasping drive against the crossbar.
The Coasters threatened again in the 19th minute when Siddall released Murphy out wide, who then picked out Lackey in the box, but Lackey saw her effort blocked at close quarters.
As Fylde attacked again, Lackey took aim and crashed a shot against the crossbar, before Halifax goalkeeper Becky Flaherty was able to smother the rebound.
The Coasters continued to press for the opener as Iszy Binks played in Siddall for a one-on-one chance, only to be denied by the offside flag.
The pressure finally told on the half-hour mark when Samson finished off a flowing move to slot past Flaherty and make it 1-0.
It soon got better for the Coasters when Lackey rounded off a superb passing move with a crisp finish into the bottom corner. Lois Moore collected Siddall’s pass and squared to Lackey, who made no mistake to double Fylde's lead in the 40th minute.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-0 Halifax FC Women
The Coasters continued to attack with the same intensity after the restart. Lackey created an early opening but lashed her effort over the crossbar.
In the 55th minute, Murphy jinked her way down the wing and centred for Samson, but the cross was fractionally too high for the onrushing striker.
Two minutes later, Halifax pulled a goal back in controversial fashion. After Craven attempted to collect a high cross, she appeared to be fouled by the Halifax attacker. Legge picked up the loose ball and fired into the empty net. Though Craven required treatment afterwards, the goal still stood.
As the second half wore on, the Coasters struggled to find their rhythm and were largely kept at bay by a well-organised Halifax defence.
In the final seconds of the contest, the Eagles somehow grabbed a late equaliser when Greene found space in the box and buried her shot into the back of the net.
Although the Coasters were unable to see out the win, they can take great heart from their strong attacking display and a hard-fought point that lifts them off the bottom of the table.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-2 Halifax FC Women
AFC Fylde Women: Craven, Strutton, Hamill, James (74' Thomas), Rowe, Siddall, Binks (63' Heria), Lackey, Samson, Moore (80' Taylor), Murphy (89' Devereaux)
Unused substitute: Pilling
Halifax FC Women: Flaherty, Boydell, Legge, Dean, Watson, Ramsden, White, Greene, Norde, Stevens, Willis
Substitutes: Wilcock, Wilson, Cook, Oliver, Bamforth
Report by Scott Jones