Fylde fall to last-gasp defeat

Fylde fall to late penalty
Fylde fall to late penalty

Fylde 17, Hartpury College 18

Fylde gained a point out of this hard-edged contest, but it was scant reward for their efforts in a match where they had the lead three times, but ultimately couldn't hold on.

Not for the first time this season, the issue for Fylde was settled right at the death, Lloyd Evans' straightforward penalty kick sealing it for the visitors, who augmented their National League One promotion hopes.

In a match where the lead changed hands with some rapidity, making the outcome more and more uncertain, Fylde had led from the 58th minute after an Oli Brennand try and Chris Johnson conversion.

That gave them a two point lead in this see-saw contest, but it never looked as though it was going to be sufficient and so it proved to be.

Fylde deserve credit for they gave it their all had against a side with arguably the most resolute defence seen at the Woodlands this season.

They never stopped toiling away, often in adverse circumstances and could boast some capable performers, not least Simon Griffiths, Dave Fairbrother, Scott Rawlings, allied to the dangerous running of Jordan Dorrington and Oli Brennand.

These were two well-matched sides, and it was clear after Brennand's second half try that the next score would be crucial in what was an entertaining contest, given the unfavourable, wet conditions.

Unfortunately for Fylde, it was Hartpury who finished the stronger and their penetrative forward thrusts forced the home side into mistakes and infringements, the last of which facilitated Evans' crucial winning penalty, proving their breaking point.

Fairbrother's strong break had helped set up Fylde's first chance of the afternoon - Brennand was released in space down the left, but Hartpury raced across to snuff out the danger from the home winger.

Minutes later Brennand popped up on the other wing as launched another forward surge.

The early exchanges were tightly contested with clear-cut chances few and far between.

Bingham came close to getting his hands on a quick cross-kick from Dorrington after Fylde had won an important strike against the head at the end of the first quarter - he was just denied as the visitors' defence scrambled back to cover as a matter of urgency.

Fylde were beginning to gain a clear edge in terms of territory and attacks.

On 27 minutes, Fylde had their best chance to date, with Johnson linking up with Brennand on the right flank - the latter fed Chris Briers, who for a split-second looked to be in the clear, but he was halted a couple of yarfds from the line.

On 31 minutes when the first try came, it was against the general run of play and came from Hartpury.

It was a thorooughly unsatisfactory try to give away.

Fylde had just won turnover ball, but Johnson kicked away possession, allowing Hartpury to counter.

A mix-up between Brennand and Dorrington compounded that error and Hartpury attacked in droves - they were not to be denied and with the Fylde rearguard at full stretch, centre Luke Eves plunged over for a try.

Evans was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt from wide on the left touchline.

Fylde countered with an exciting burst out of defence by first Dorrington and then Bingham, which gained acres of ground.

Fylde got the try their sterling, first half endeavours deserved in the final act before the interval.

After earning a penalty, Fylde kicked for touch and got on a concerted shove that moved relentlessly towards the try-line and ended with Fairbrother touching down.

Johnson's successful conversion nudged Fylde in front at half-time by 7-5.

Hartpury started the second half purposefully, pinning Fylde back and only just being held up over the line as the pack piled forward.

In the next phase of attack, Fylde were penalised and on 46 minutes fly-half Evans grabbed the opportunity to put his side back in front with a successful kick, making it 8-7.

Fylde had a chance to go for goal, but rather than do that, they went for the line-out option, but messed up.

They got another penalty chance less than a minute later and this time Johnson went for goal and duly landed it to take the score to 10-8 for Fylde.

Hartpury's response was immediate and they restored the lead after 56 minutes.

\A kick down the right touchline had Fylde in full retreat and they nevfer recovered their composure, as they swung the ball across the field and Eves was the man to touch down, registering his second try of the match, goaled by Evans.

Hartpury led at this point 15-10

Fylde hit back in tremendous manner.

Brennand started the move and ended it.

The Fylde wing got his team going with a quick line-out throw, Dorrington then taking it on with a 50-metre sprint up field.

Fylde kept the momentum going and it was Brennand the instigator and finisher as he squeezed over in the corner on the left.

Johnson converted from the touchline as Fylde now led 17-15 on 58 minutes in what was developing into a thriller.

Fylde were penalised at the scrum on 75 minutes as the tension mounted, Evans having a go at goal from 45 metres out - a success would have put Hartpury in front but he dragged his kick wide.

Replacement Paul Arnold, playing his 150th match was penalised for a high tackle, giving Hartpury another penalty and a late attacking chance to win the game.

They forged forward and won another penalty, this time bang in front of goal and Evans made no mistake to inch his side a single point ahead with 80 minutes gone.

In stoppage time, all hope for Fylde was lost as Johnson was yellow carded for a high tackle.

It meant Hartpury kept possession deep in Fylde terrain and in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Evans ended the contest by kicking the ball off the park.

Fylde have played worse than this and won, but it was not to be as they lost out to another late score, which is becoming the bane of their season.

Fylde: Dorrington; Bingham, Briers, S Rawlings, Brennand; Johnson, Nicholls' Birchall, Loney, Lewis, Griffiths, G Rawlings, Goodman, Stewart, Fairbrother. Replacements: Lavelle, Mills, Arnold, Spragg, Moon.