A battling performance from Harrogate Town at AFC Fylde was not enough to overturn Wednesday’s 1-0 deficit in the National North play-offs.
Simon Weaver rang the changes in the Town line up, which included Andy McWilliams returning at left back.
It was Fylde’s prolific scorer, Danny Rowe who had the first chance when he blazed a twenty yard free kick well over the bar.
Town were not slow to retaliate and Matt Urwin had to concede a corner from a Jack Emmett cross after good work from Lloyd Kerry and Brendan Daniels.
Daniels was soon in action again, when his deep centre was played into the path of Tom Platt by Dom Knowles,but Platt’s rising drive was well over the woodwork.
Unfortunately,Town were given a mountain to climb on eleven minutes when Sam Finley suddenly unleashed a wind assisted drive from twentyfive yards past the helpless, Peter Crook.
Undaunted,Town’s fighting spirit rose to the fore and they pushed the “Coasters” back with a period of strong pressure.
Urwin did well to snatch a Joe Colbeck cross off the head of Knowles,but Town were not to be denied.
A low cross from Jack Emmett evaded the home defenders allowing Knowles at the far post to skillfully sidefoot home a sixteenth minute equaliser.
For the rest of the half, Town were in the ascendancy and Luke Shiels latched on to an Urwin punch out ,only to be thwarted by Josh Langley’s clearance off the line..
Kerry and Platt shot wide as Town pressed forward and Urwin had to produce a flying save to keep out Warren Burrell’s goalbound shot.
On fifty minutes, Finley’s foul on Emmett gave Daniels an opportunity from thirty yards out,but Urwin managed to tip his blistering free kick over the crossbar.
James Cadman and Paul Thirlwell replaced Emmett and Kerry,but Thirlwell’s first taste of action saw him bring down Fylde sub,Dion Charles, in the penalty area.
Momentarily, things looked black for Town, but Crook saved the day with a brilliant save from Rowe’s well struck penalty.
Rowe then went close for the Coasters, but in general he was well policed by Danny Ellis,and it was another Fylde sub,Bohan Dixon who threatened with a late clever lob.
As Referee Jonathan Hunt awarded four extra minutes stoppage time,Town made a a desperate effort to take the tie into extra time.
Daniels ballooned well over the top with an over ambitious shot and with the last action of the match,Paul Clayton just failed to reach Colbeck’s long centre.
However, Town had to be content with an honourable draw and it’s AFC Fylde who go forward to face North Ferriby United in Saturday’s play-off final.
1 Crook, 2 Platt, 3 McWilliams, 4 Burrell (Clayton 71), 5 Ellis (c), 6 Shiels, 7 Colbeck, 8 Kerry (Thirlwell 75), 9 Emmett ( Cadman 64), 10 Knowles, 11 Daniels.
Unused subs,16 Swain,18 Stewart Bookings nil
Scorer Knowles 16 Att.1384
Report by John Harrison
Photographs by Craig Hurle