Chorley 1 AFC Fylde 3
It was honours even at the end of the festive-season double-header between promotion-chasers Chorley and title favourites Fylde, who showed more character than in the first meeting on Boxing Day.
In the end the Coasters were deserving of this National League North victory, if not perhaps meriting the 3-1 scoreline.
In front of another superb crowd of 3,128, the visitors determinedly came from behind to inflict only Chorley’s third defeat in twenty-three games.
The first half was a cautious affair with few real highspots or scoring chances.
Fylde made the brighter start and Magpies’ keeper Shaun Rowley did well to get down and save a fierce angled shot from Dan Bradley at his near post.
At the other end, only a wonderful save by Rhys Taylor denied Kieran Charnock, the keeper at full stretch tipping his solid header over the bar.
The game exploded into life within a minute of the restart when a glorious goal put Chorley in front.
Adam Blakeman seized on a loose ball just beyond the left-side edge of the penalty area and promptly hit a screamer which flew into the far top corner past a motionless Taylor.
But the Magpies held the lead for only five minutes. Trickery by Danny Rowe near the by-line won Fylde a corner from which centre-back Dom Collins headed the Coasters level.
Chorley had the chance to regain the lead within minutes but after intelligently fastening onto a free-kick lofted beyond the defence an off-balance Kieran Charnock could only shoot into the side-netting.
Instead, Fylde grabbed the lead in the 64th minute when Rowe broke away down the right and slipped James Wilson through, his centre being headed in unchallenged by Bradley.
An aerial clash of heads brought the game to a halt with Magpies’ striker Marcus Carver lying prone on the pitch where he was treated for some 12 minutes, during which the referee took the players off the field.
Carver was finally stretchered off to await the arrival of an ambulance and when the match was resumed after some 16 minutes, Chorley began the uphill task of chasing a point.
Despite pressure, they could not break down a resolute Fylde defence and were undone again by Rowe in the 18th minute of added time!
The Fylde hot-shot, though again denied a goal for himself, neatly set up another right-wing cross from Bradley which ex-Magpie Andy Bond tapped in from short range.
It gave the Coasters a somewhat flattering margin of victory after what had developed into a very tight demanding contest.
Chorley: Rowley, Challoner, Blakeman, Sheron (Teague 77), Leather, Charnock, Roscoe, Whitham, Carver (O’Keefe 67), Cofie (Southworth 80), Cottrell.
Subs not used: Beesley, Azam
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Wilson, Langley, Collins, Kennedy, Bond, C Hughes, Bradley, Dixon (Baker 90), Daniels (M Hughes 90), Rowe.
Subs not used: Povey, Loftus, Reid
Referee: Matthew Donohue