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AFC Fylde 2gifHarriers 2

Date: 18-03-17 gif Venue: Mill Farm gif att: 2359 gif away fans: 239
Harriers Fyled again

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers hopes of a long overdue away win were dashed in the final few minutes - well after the game was supposed to end? - of this top of the table clash at a rain soaked and dismal Mill Farm today.  With the Reds coasting it at 2-0 the management made some negative substitutions in the second half and the points had been thrown away.

Add in a schoolboy error from Keith Lowe at a crucial time to gift a goal that gave the home side some confidence and a face saving goal in the ninety seventh minute for an un-deserved draw.  Also with three red cards that could end with us being without two players for at least three weeks and some talk of the racist card being played by a Fylde player that could land Fylde in hot water.  Then you could say this game had it all.

After having raced into another first half lead with two goals from Ryan Croasdale and Lowe we looked set on for the points as we controlled the game with ease and made the leaders look third rate.  Then in the second half we again failed to cope with a team having just undergone a half time blast who then got at us from the whistle.  We had no plan B bar throwing on defenders and hanging on in there.

Before the game we had the news that Mani Dieseruvwe had been sent out on loan to Boston for the remainder of the season as I waited in-terminably for a team sheet in the plush but thinly veneered entrance to the Mill Farm complex.  The man in the ill fitting suit told me that they don't get printed until 3.30 and when I said they have to be in the referees hands thirty minutes before the game and that both teams had tweeted the line-ups at 2.45 he just said that's the way it is here.  Hmmm, you'll do well in the Conference mate.

Our team news was as expected with a repeat of last Saturdays at home to Alfreton with the exception of the returning, errr, Elton Nwgalat...Ngltawa, umm...Elton Elton (get your act together tannoy lady).  Liam Truslove dropped to the bench but maybe he should have played with Elton not looking match fit or up for this game.

From the off the Harriers in their unlucky purple kit ruled the game for the whole of the first half with the one exception when a Danny Rowe ball in hit Ryan Croasdale then the post.  We peppered their goal with shots but their keeper Ryan Taylor was bravely keeping them in it with one exceptional save from Josh Ezewele.

Keith Lowe had our first chance in the shocking conditions when his downward header was deflected the wrong side of the post but the referee failed to give the corner.  Sam Austin easily fooled his marker the break into the area but his shot hit the side netting looking for all the world as if it had gone in.  Lowe again saw another header saved and N'Gwatala fired in from the edge of the area but that was easily dealt with.

Following more intense pressure from the Violets the goal we knew was coming came.  Ngwatala tried to get in on goal but found his shot blocked but the ball came back to him and he rolled it towards Croasdale who swept the ball into the net.

Ten minutes later and the Harriers fans had entered Nirvana.  A James McQuilkin cross was punched away by Taylor but only as far as Keith Lowe who returned the ball with interest into the net to trigger scenes of delirium as the players piled on top of each other.

We went looking for a third goal but it didn't happen so they went into the warm dressing rooms out of this Northern weather for a few minutes.
  HT: 0 - 2
The second half Fylde returned having sussed us out just like all the other clubs that we hammer in the first half.  Matty Hughes came on to give them more firepower up front and they began to play a higher line forcing us to stay in our own half.  As we know we don't seem able to cope with that and so it proved with us hardly getting a sight of goal but doing plenty of defending.

Our usual response is to throw defenders on and so it passed when Ashley Carter came on for N'Gwatala.  To be fair Elton was struggling but wouldn't it have been so much better to have sent on the natural replacement, Liam Truslove, instead?  At least he could have given it a go.

The hosts had early chances for Brendon Daniels that Sam Hornby dealt with easily and then Andy Bond likewise with a shot from the edge of the area.  Former Harrier Dan Bradley tried to score from distance but the power wasn't in his shot and again Hornby collected easily.

It was looking as if the Harriers were going to be able to cope with this powder puff attacking and even more so when Casper Hughes almost put the ball into his own net.  The leagues highest scorer is Danny Rowe, the Fylde number nine, but he was being well marshalled and not getting much of a look in but he came close with a header that went just over.

Throughout the game it had been noted that the right hand side of the pitch was a bog with water flying up whenever a player tried to move the ball and we had already had Ezewele trying to play the ball in the water and getting no where apart from needing lengthy treatment when he and another slid into each other on the touchline.  Just to note that the referee, again, made a poor decision not to call the trainer on even though Josh was clearly in pain.  Our trainer was left hopping around for at least a minute before the signal came.

It was that same area of the pitch that led to Lowes shocking mistake and their first goal.  The ball was played out wide and with there looking to be no real emergency he dithered on the ball as Dan Bradley came storming in.  Instead of doing the simple thing, and put the ball into the touch, our Captain opted to role the ball through tree inches of water towards Hornby.  The ball went nowhere and Bradley pounced on it and took it forward and around Hornby to slot it home.

A few minutes later and what looked to be a well earned three points began to drift from our grasp.  In-explicably Ash Carter decided to go crunching in on Sam Findley in the middle of the park where there wasn't going to be any danger.  The ref reached into his pocket and pulled out a red making that Carters second red of the season and a possible four match ban starting at home to Harrogate next Saturday.  He'll be in the squad for Tamworth on Tuesday.

By this time the referee was running out of minutes so decided to add ten more and it was in this time that the game hit flashpoint.

We had played the ball upfield when suddenly a load of players surged into each other by the dugouts.  It was hard to see what was going on but after some more handbags the officials went into a huddle and called Tyrell Waite over and raised a red card.  Finley followed next and he too was shown a red while Caspar Hughes was given a yellow.  Waite might miss three games but reports following the game say that Finley had told Waite to go back to his own country and if that's the case then the FA might act more leniently towards him but not so towards Finley.

Now bear in mind that when the game was stopped we had the ball so why did the referee give Fylde a free kick?

The game was now in danger of running into triple figures with no board being shown and the referee making it up as he went along.  Of course the in-evitable was going to happen and with us down to nine men it was backs to the wall as Fylde ran at us.  A cross came in and there was the heavily out-numbered Harriers struggling to cope with the high ball that landed b=just right for Matt Blinkhorns head as it crept in between Sam Hornby and the post.

Was that a full time whistle I just heard?
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Fylde: Bradley 82, Blinkhorn 97
 Goals for Harriers: Croasdale 26, Lowe 36

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Talk about the game here  
Latest table and stats here  

AFC Fylde  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Taylor     Hornby  
C Hughes   Ezewele  
Kennedy     Francis-Angol  
Maguire     Croasdale gif  
Collins gif     Lowe gif  
Bond     Tunnicliffe  
Kay gif   Nti gif  
Finley   McQuilkin  
Rowe     Waite
Bradley gif     N'Gwatala gif  
Daniels gif     Austin gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
M Hughes gif - 46     T Williams gif - 80  
Baker     Truslove  
Dixon     Knights  
Hardy gif - 67     A Brown gif - 72  
Blinkhorn gif gif - 91     Carter gif - 61

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