MATCH REPORT: AFC Fylde 1 Wigan 1

Dave Challinor, chairman David Haythornthwaite and goalscorer Danny Rowe
Dave Challinor, chairman David Haythornthwaite and goalscorer Danny Rowe
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The stage was set for Danny Rowe to step up and prove his Football League credentials and he did so with aplomb as he coolly slotted home the penalty that ensured AFC Fydle are in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

This game in itself was historic for Fylde, given it was their first taste of the second round of the prestigious competition but they had to find another level in the second half to fight back and hold League One leaders Wigan to a draw.

The National League side were up against it after Will Grigg's 44th minute header but inspirational skipper Sam Finley won that crucial penalty after Nathan Byrne felled him in the box.

The result of that penalty was never in doubt once Rowe stepped up as he drilled the ball past Jamie Jones to seal a replay at the DW Stadium a week on Tuesday.

Wigan showed their higher division pedigree from the off, though for all their slick third tier passing their finishing was not League One standard with Michael Jacobs lofting the ball over the bar and Gavin Massey fizzing the ball past the left stick from an angle on the right after he had broken into the box.

Fylde were on the ropes but influential captain Sam Finley and that man Danny Rowe showed they were unphased by the BBC cameras as they linked up in Fylde's half.

With the eyes of the nation on the Fylde coast it was a chance for Challinor's boys to prove they could cut it with the cream of the Football League but Wigan were to be a tough nut to crack as danger man Rowe was charged down as soon as Finley had fed him and his effort from outside the box was blocked by a number of black shirts.

Wigan kept pushing forward to try and get that early goal to dent the confidence of Fylde's history boys with Morsy's long range effort easily collected by Lynch.

But Wigan got closer to that elusive first goal with the woodwork rescuing Fylde, Byrne found space on the right and whipped the ball into the mix, Grigg leapt above the pack and nodded the ball towards the top corner but it clattered into the crossbar and dropped favourably for Fylde.

There had been some shaky moments at the back but after that let off Fylde's belief in the magic of the cup was restored and when they finally got the ball out of the cold night sky they asked serious questions of Paul Cook's men.

Rowe managed to find pockets of space as the half wore on but his final ball was just lacking though Wigan were thankful to Dan Burn for stopping the National League's top scorer getting a golden chance in the six-yard box.

Smith and Zaine Francis-Angol combined on the left wing to outfox the Latics but Smith's dangerous ball towards Rowe was just cleared by a sliding Burn. The subsequent Smith corner had all the right ingredients as it dropped into the middle of the box but Wigan reacted first to clear the threat.

But Wigan kept knocking on that door as Lee Evans comically blasted the ball way over the bar when Max Power's corner from the right dropped kindly to him in the mix.

Fylde did not head their warnings and Wigan finally got their just rewards as Grigg popped up just before half-time

Byrne had cut back onto his left foot on the right flank and whipped the ball up towards Grigg, who might not have been able to catch fire on a freezing night on at Fylde, but ensured the famous chant would echo from the terraces with a glancing header.

That woke Fylde up with Rowe getting his first clear sight of goal though his angled effort flew straight at Jones.

Challinor's men came out fighting at the start of the second half, no doubt after a rousing half-time speech that saw Fylde up their game and go toe to toe with the League One leaders.

Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first half but they were straight out of the blocks with Finley's effort just blocked as he tried to drive Fylde forward. Rowe managed to get a sight of goal once again though his deflected effort rolled into Jones' arms.

But despite Fylde's resurgence Wigan still showed their third tier bite as they sat back and broke on the counter, it took a fine save by Lynch to keep it 1-0 as he dived to his right to bat away Jacobs' fierce strike from outside the box.

Challinor threw Matty Blinkhorn on in the 62nd minute and he made an immediate impact but he should have scored with his first touch just seconds after coming off the bench.

Finley's deep cross found the substitute unmarked but his header dropped agonisingly wide of the left stick.

Massey forced Lynch into another fine save and Power's cross into the box was just ahead of the unmarked Grigg at the back stick as the game became an end-to-end affair.

That introduction of Blinkhorn had given Fylde more bite but his strike partner Rowe was not to be overshadowed

Fylde had fizzed the ball around the box and it eventually fell to Blinkhorn in the box, he skipped past his man who felled him just before he pulled the trigger.

The referee Darren Drysdale paused before pointing to the spot with the home crowd up in raptures thanks to the decision with the result in their minds never in doubt given the man who was to step up and take it.

Rowe has fired more than 130 goals for Fylde in three season and so it was no surprise to see the National League's top marksman coolly roll the ball past Jones into the right corner and level things up.

There was a late scare for Fylde as a Burn interception saw Wigan sprint five on three at the hosts but the Wigan man overhit his pass to Powell who would have been through on goal.

It would have been a cruel end for the Coasters who after surviving a first-half battering with just a 1-0 deficit bounced back with a splendid second half showing to take the tie to the DW

AFC Fylde: Lynch, Montrose, Francis-Angol, Tunnicliffe, Bond, Finley (Taylor, 90), Rowe, Richards (Grand, 89), Smith Ezewele (Blinkhorn, 62), Edmundson. Subs not used: Taylor, McCready, Grand, Tasdemir, Jones.

Wigan: Jones, Byrne, Morsy, Power, Evans, Grigg (Toney, 89), Massey (Powell, 73) Jacobs (Roberts, 90), Dunkley, James, Burn. Subs not used: Sarkic, Elder, Perkins, Bruce.

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 3351