FA Cup 1st round
Match report Vs AFC FyldeVenue: Mill FarmDate: 04-11-17Att: 1480 (away fans: 270)

04-11-17 - Report - FA Cup 1st rd - AFC Fylde 4 Harriers 2

Harriers meek and mild at Fylde

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers went crashing out of the FA  Cup following a turgid first half that saw them second to every ball, lacking pace and lacking the skills needed to compete against a Fylde side that showed no real improvement from last season. We, in turn, had deteriorated and looked a shadow of the Harriers that took them to two drawn games and ran them close for the title.

The second half was no better and it wasn’t until Declan Weeks came on to the scene in the final twenty minutes of the game that we looked anything like and began to play like a team that had belief in themselves. By then it was all too late and by that stage we were 4-0 down and heading out of the Cup far earlier than we thought we would.

We started the game with James O’Connor returning to the team following his suspension and James Pearson returning following his hamstring injury. There was a surprise on the bench with the long overdue return of Liam Truslove from injury but he never came on and may have been there just to make up numbers. There was, as expected, no Dan Bradley with the word going round that he was facing surgery on his knee.

For the hosts they had all three ex Harriers available with Jordan Tunnicliffe and Zaine Francis-Angol both starting and Josh Ezewele on the bench.

The first quarter of the game was pretty even with both sides a little scrappy but Fylde were just edging it. They were giving us very little time on the ball while we, in turn, were showing very little idea of how to combat that. Both Elton N’Gwatala and Andre Wright were passengers with the latter frankly an embarrassment due to his lack of control of the ball leading to it being given away every time it came near him.

Emmanuel Sonupè was being marked heavily and Joe Ironside was once again ploughing that lone furrow upfront.

After early probing by Fylde it didn’t take long for them to open the scoring through, as expected, Danny Rowe. Jack Muldoon played the ball through for Rowe and with Harriers defenders backing off he had all the time in the world to run into the area, have a brief tussle with O’Connor and then pick his spot to rifle the ball home. He could have scored a second a few minutes later but his shot fizzed past the post.

The closest we came to a goal was when Ironside climbed high to a ball lofted into the area but then from just a couple of yards out headed it across the goal instead of at the goal. O’Connor dived at the ball that was heading out of play but just missed the connection and the chance was gone.

We finished the half slightly stronger with a header from Pearson that drifted past the post but to be honest we had been very poor and had never shown the kind of football we are supposedly good at.

HT: 1 – 0

It took just three minutes for Danny Rowe to grab his brace following the break. Sam Finley got around the back of our defence and played the ball into the area for Rowe to collect but again O’Connor failed to get the decisive challenge in and Rowe fired home with ease. Five minutes later and it was game over.

Ryan Croasdale gave the ball away sloppily deep in our own half to Jonny Smith and he ran the full length of the pitch into our area. The only one to beat was O’Connor and he merely backed off and backed off to allow the Fylde winger an easy chance to score as he fired the ball beyond the helpless Brandon Hall.

Three nil down and just fifty minutes gone so what would you do if you were the manager? You’d bring on a sub to try and change it round a bit. Find a way back into the game.

No, you’d wait until you were four nil down. 

Just past the hour mark and Finley grabbed their fourth goal of the day with an almost carbon copy of the previous game but this time Smith turning provider when he again collected the ball from deep but then played in the un-attended Finley to stroke the ball home. The day was turning out worse than we thought it would and visions of a 6-0 thrashing began to loom heavily.

Now’s the time for a sub. Let’s send on Andre Brown and see if he can perform some kind of a miracle. No he couldn’t and for the next ten minutes we continued to labour through the game and it wasn’t until the appearance of Declan Weeks on sixty nine minutes did we look any good.

Straight away we began to become more combative but that could have been down to the hosts thinking they had done enough to squeeze through into the next round. With Weeks we now had an edge about us and we began to look sharper all over the park. It took four minutes to begin our doomed comeback.

Surprisingly the goal came from someone you never really expect to score when Joel Taylor collected a long cross ball from Elton N’Gwatala out wide. He made his way into the area avoiding some half hearted challenges along the way then flicked the ball towards the goal just at the moment he lost his footing and slipped over. The ball went into the net and the false dawn had arisen.

We tried hard to now make the scoreline into something more respectable and Ironside thought he had done that but the linesman waved his ‘goal’ offside and again when his header struck the woodwork. It took until a few seconds after the ninety minute mark for Andre Brown to grab the goal he had been sent on for thirty minutes earlier.

A quick interplay between Pearson and Croasdale saw the latter put the ball into the area for Brown to chest down and turn before rifling his shot into the back of the net. It was all too late though and a few minutes later it was all over for another year.

The Harriers fans trooped out of Fyldes over grandiose little stadium dejectedly to make their way back home or into the dubious bright lights of Blackpool. As a measure of how far we had come since last season then it was plain to see that we have indeed gone backwards but at the same time AFC Fylde are no great shakes and they looked no better than last season either.

Man of the match has to be the one that changed the game when he came on and one can only think what would have happened if he had come on much earlier Mr Eustace? Will Declan Weeks start against Darlington next week? Not a cat in hells chance and neither will Andre Wright be making way for Andre Brown either.

FT: 4 – 2

Goals for AFC Fylde: Rowe 14, 48, Smith 53, Finley 64

Goals for Harriers: Taylor 73, A Brown 91

The Harriers Online MotM is: Declan Weeks

Talk about the game here and phone the Harriers Hotline on 01905 577 777 after the game too

Latest table and stats here

AFC Fylde Goals Subs Time Cards
Burke   46  
Smith 84  
Finley 79  
Jason Taylor        
R Taylor        
Montrose   79  
Grand   84  
Ezewele     46
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Joel Taylor      
Sonupè   69  
Wright   60  
A Brown 60  
Weeks   69  
Mr Daniel Middleton