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Coasters Deservedly Earn A Second Go At Wigan

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AFC Fylde did the Vanarama National League proud on Friday night when they not only hosted high-flying SkyBet League One side Wigan Athletic in the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup, but also the live BBC Two cameras.

Their superb Mill Farm facilities surprised the likes of Mark Lawrenson and Kevin Kilbane and, no doubt, millions watching on TV.

And the fact that Dave Challinor`s side tried to compete with the recent FA Cup winners toe-to-toe by attempting to play football, rather than `hoof-ball` was also very noteworthy.

It didn`t look as though it would work, however, as Wigan`s impressive midfield of Lee Evans, Max Power, Michael Jacobs and Sam Morsy dominated the first half possession, starving the Coasters` prolific marksman Danny Rowe of any service at all in the opening 45 minutes.

But the Latics` seemed to run out of ideas in and around the penalty area, although Northern Ireland international Will Grigg did head onto the bar and Gavin Massey went close.

Just a minute before the break though, Grigg did break the deadlock when he flicked Nathan Byrne’s excellent into the far corner past Fylde `keeper Jay Lynch.

Lynch made a smart save from Jacobs just after half-time as Wigan looked to put the tie to bed.

However, Challinor brought on an extra attacker in Matt Blinkhorn just after the hour-mark and that gave Rowe some help and the Coasters midfield another target.

And with 20 minutes remaining, Fylde`s skipper Sam Finley, who had worked tirelessly all evening, burst forward and was brought down by Byrne just inside the box and the referee, quite rightly, pointed to the spot.

Cue Danny Rowe, who hit 47 goals in Fylde’s promotion run last season, and he stepped up and calmly sent Jamie Jones the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

Chances were limited at either end after that, with Fylde and Wigan`s defences solid, although Byrne did have a decent effort that flew over the bar.

But Fylde deserved their second chance and showed what the National League is all about in glowing terms.


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