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AFC Fylde 1 Rovers u23s 0

27 July 2016

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Rovers' Under-23s were on the end of a narrow defeat as they went down 1-0 to AFC Fylde on Wednesday night.

Damien Johnson's youngsters were more than a match for the National League North side, but an 89th minute winner from veteran Stephen Crainey clinched the win for the Coasters.

The match at Kellamergh Park was slow to get going, Fylde defender Josh Langley forcing Andy Fisher into making a routine stop, before Connor Mahoney nodded wide a centre from Ryan Nyambe.

Rovers trialist Faissal El Bakhtaoui was next to try his luck as he cut inside to shoot, but the Fylde keeper saved. Moments later Mahoney intercepted a pass in midfield to race forward, but his effort at goal deflected to allow an easy claim.

A Fylde trialist fizzed an effort narrowly over the bar on 22, but as the first half wore on it was Rovers who were creating the better openings, Lewis Mansell capitalising on an error but he saw his shot saved, whilst a near-post header from Matty Platt was also kept out.

Rovers started the second half in the manner they ended the first and on 56 minutes they would go the closest to opening the scoring.

As Connor Thomson and John O'Sullivan combined, defender Nyambe raced into the box to let fly but his effort crashed off the crossbar.

Last year's Academy top scorer Mansell then saw two headed opportunities flash wide, before the lively El Bakhtaoui showed a good touch and turn of pace to break forward, but his effort was straight at the Fylde keeper.

At the other end Sam Tattum, who turned out for Rovers against Charnock Richard in the development squad's first pre-season friendly, forced trialist keeper Josh Powell into making a fine save. Bohan Dixon then tested the Rovers stopper, but Powell got down well.

Both sides pressed for a winner in the closing stages as Mahoney and O'Sullivan both went close.

But it was left to the elder statesman on the pitch to clinch the bragging rights for Fylde as Stephen Crainey stepped up to slam an 89th minute free-kick into the top corner.

Rovers could have snatched an equaliser with the last attack of the game, but Thomson was denied from close-range.

Damien Johnson's side are back in action next Tuesday night when they face AFC Darwen at the Anchor Ground.

ROVERS: Fisher (sub Powell 46 mins), Nyambe, Platt, Wharton, Askew, O'Sullivan, Travis, Thomson, Mahoney, El Bakhtaoui, Mansell.

Subs not used: Grayson, Rankin-Costello, Howarth, Rittenberg, Magloire.

Attendance: 212.

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