04:46PM, Thursday 31 October 2019
Photo: Darren Woolley
Josh Kelly (centre)
Maidenhead United were forced to make do with a draw against AFC Fylde after Josh Kelly’s spectacular finish was cancelled out by Neill Byrne’s late header on Tuesday night.
In a moment of individual genius, the Magpies’ forward found the ball sit up invitingly for him on the edge of the box and fired an overhead kick which looped into James Montgomery’s top corner.
But newly-appointed Fylde manager Jim Bentley saw his side draw level 30 minutes later when centre-back Byrne fired a powerful header into the back of the net to ensure the new boss would begin his era with a point on the road.
Alan Devonshire’s team kicked off the match, fired up to assert their home dominance and were unfortunate to have early penalty appeals waved away by the referee after he deemed Josh Kelly went down too easily under pressure from the Fylde defence.
A couple of minutes later, Jake Cassidy had a wild attempt of a bicycle kick leave the ground as the ball wouldn’t settle nicely for the forward.
The Coasters did well to withstand the early pressure from Maidenhead and could have taken the lead through Luke Burke, largely against the run of play.
The full-back was slipped through on goal by Nick Haughton and, with just Chris Dunn to beat, rushed his effort and fired wide, much to the relief of the Magpies’ defence who had worked tirelessly up to that point.
Minutes later Haughton was on hand again to almost break the deadlock for the Coasters.
Ignoring the calls from teammates, Haughton went alone and used tricky feet to find himself some space before lashing a right-footed effort narrowly past Dunn’s post.
Fylde concluded the half the more dominant side, with Matty Kosylo and Jordan Williams working the wide berths of the pitch to try and deliver the breakthrough.
From what must have been an inspiring team talk from Devonshire at half time, the restart had a shift in momentum and it didn’t take long for the hosts to have their noses in front in incredible fashion.
After an initial corner was cleared, Josh Smile delivered a second attempt into the box for Kelly to acrobatically fire into the Fylde net, sending York Road into raptures.
The goal gave life to the Magpies, and with the loud and boisterous noise of the home support, Kelly tried an audacious effort shortly after from 45 yards after seeing Montgomery off his line, the effort bouncing wide and out.
Slowly, Fylde crept their way back into the game and reduced the Maidenhead tempo with some intricate passing.
On 70 minutes, Williams hit a fierce drive that crashed off the inside of the woodwork and went wide.
But in the next attack Fylde brought the game level.
Haughton’s whipped corner was met by the towering Byrne who angled a fine header past a rooted Dunn.
Despite the show of late pressure from the visitors, Alan Massey almost snatched victory for the Magpies as poor defending from a corner offered the skipper a free header, but his effort skimmed the bar and went out.
The result sees United move into 14th in the National League and extend an unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions.
Maidenhead play Aldershot Town on Saturday. Kick-off is at 3pm.
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