Aldershot Town returned to winning ways with an 86th minute header from Will Evans as AFC Fylde’s inconsistent form continued.
The EBB stadium paid its respects on Remembrance Day with a two-minute silence, alongside representatives of the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Parachute Regiment, whose standards led the teams onto the pitch.
It was a frustrating start to the match for The Shots, with multiple chances but ultimately no final finish. A cross from James Rowe was teased into the six-yard box and skimmed the heads of AFC Fylde’s defence, inches away from Bernard Mensah who was seconds too late to get a touch.
Mensah did, though, create a chance all of his own on 15 minutes, picking up possession in midfield and racing past a couple of defenders; a one-on-one chance saw his shot towards the left corner parried by Jay Lynch with a strong one-handed save.
The deadlock was finally broken 20 minutes in, when Mensah fed Rowe on the right and his half-deflected cross looped up perfectly off George’s Edmundson’s head for Shamir Fenelon to nip in ahead of Lynch’s attempted punch to nod the ball into the net.
Mensah soon saw a free-kick skim just past the post whilst, at the other end, goalkeeper Lewis Ward enjoyed a confident debut, and did well to punch away Jonny Smith’s free-kick amidst a scrum of players.
Muldoon and Kellermann exchanged half-chances after the break, both firing their shots over the bar, but – even though The Shots remained lively in attack – Fylde’s top scorer equalised on 56 minutes. Burke’s pass out of defence was allowed to run through to Danny Rowe, who outpaced Will Evans and chipped the ball into the net over the advancing Ward.
The drama escalated when referee Sam Purkiss issued two red cards in the space of 20 minutes. AFC Fylde were first to be down to ten men, when Adam McDonnell’s free kick was intercepted and, as the visitors launched a counter-attack, a tangle between George Fowler and Jack Muldoon in midfield saw Muldoon sent off for violent conduct.
Fenelon pulled a shot across goal when well-placed following Rowe’s incisive pass, and McDonnell’s volley flew just wide after Lynch punched a cross away, but Aldershot Town were also reduced to ten men on 79 minutes.
Another Fylde counter-attack was ended by Oyeleke’s challenge on Serhat Tasdemir, which the referee adjudged overly aggressive, and The Shots too were a man down.
Ward preserved parity when Finley’s low cross found the unmarked Rowe on the edge of the six-yard box and the goalkeeper made a vital block.
It proved a vital save, as Evans sealed victory just three minutes later. McDonnell, down the right channel, drove a free-kick into the box and, via a back-heel flick from Callum Reynolds, it found Evans, arriving beyond the far-post, to nod the ball into the net from a tight angle.
Both keepers impressed in stoppage time, as Lynch denied Alexander with an angled drive, and Ward saved Finley’s shot from outside the box, but The Shots held on.