MATCH REPORT | AFC Fylde 1-1 Chester
Chester extended their unbeaten run to 16 matches and were more than good value for their draw at Mill Farm against the league leaders.
Connor Barrett’s stunning effort gave the Coasters the lead, but Kurt Willoughby’s 21st of the season ensured it ended all square.
Calum McIntyre made four changes from the side that drew with Curzon 14 days ago. Rhys Hughes came in for his debut, as Declan Weeks returned from suspension to start with Iwan Murray and Kevin Roberts. They replaced Alex Kenyon, Danny Devine, Joe Lynch and Anthony Dudley.
It was Barrett who had the opening attempt of the game, dragging a low shot wide after a positive start from the hosts.
Chester though grew into the half and tested Chris Neal on multiple occasions. After Weeks curled wide on 17 minutes, a matter of moments later Willoughby was denied by the Coasters’ keeper after a good run from Jamie Morgan.
Debutant Hughes caused problems with his dangerous delivery from free kicks, as first Roberts’ stabbed effort was blocked by a prone Fylde defender, before Matty Williams headed just wide.
Nevertheless the hosts opened the scoring two minutes before the break, as Barrett cut inside on to his left footed and curled in brilliantly off the underside of the crossbar.
Chester were denied a penalty on 58 minutes as Hughes appeared to be tripped by a clumsy challenge in the area, which preceded a 15 minute delay due to a medical emergency in the away end.
When the sides returned it was the Seals who got the goal courtesy of their top scorer. Willoughby shrugged Whitmore off the ball and calmly rounded up Neal to tap home.
This brought pressure and momentum to the Blues, as they had chances to then go in front. Murray’s awkward deep cross had to be tipped over by a scrambling Chris Neal, before a cross from Weeks dropped to Matty Williams who saw his attempt deflect inches wide.
At the other end, Harry Tyrer made an excellent diving stop to push away Haughton’s free kick from 25 yards, before Willoughby almost caught Neal out from distance but Whitmore was back to turn his effort behind.
Loanee Hughes nearly had the final say late on as his swirling effort flew towards goal, but Neal tipped over and it ended honours even.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Morgan (Coates 62), Burke (Edwards 87), Williams, Brown, Roberts, Weeks, Hughes, Murray (Stephenson 76), Caton, Willoughby.
SUBS NOT USED: Dudley, Thomas.
SCORERS: Barrett 43; Willoughby 66.