Fylde would kill the game off in the final quarter of an hour as Jordan Williams tapped home and Haughton produced another strike of quality.
Match report by Dan Stobbart
A frustrating end to an unforgettable journey in the FA Trophy
Dorking Wanderers 2 AFC FYLDE 4
FA TROPHY 3rd ROUND 08 February 2020
Dorking's FA Trophy journey came to an end as they were defeated by AFC Fylde in an entertaining contest at a packed out Meadowbank. James McShane had put Wanderers ahead, rebounding home after a brilliant run from Matt Briggs, but two really well taken free kicks either side of the interval from Nick Haughton, the second rebounding out and smashed home by skipper Neil Byrne, edged the visitors ahead. Matt Briggs would restore parity five minutes later, but Fylde would kill the game off in the final quarter of an hour as Jordan Williams tapped home and Haughton produced another strike of quality.
Marc White welcomed back Sam Beard from suspension, as Dan Gallagher and Matt Briggs also returned to the starting eleven following the midweek clash with Hungerford. Ben Dyett and Tom Richards would drop to the bench, where youngsters George Membrillera and keeper Josh Barnett would join them from the academy. Nick Wheeler, JJ O'Sullivan and Elliot Buchanan were all absent from the matchday squad through being cup tied, David Ray and Jason Prior both ruled out through injury.
Dorking had gotten forward well and into the opposition box inside the opening minutes, but it would be Fylde's Dan Bradley who had the first real chance of the game, receiving the ball at the back stick, Slav Huk spread himself well to deny a close range effort. On the counter attack spearheaded by Jimmy Muitt, he eventually fed Niall McManus who's shot deflected wide for a corner. Muitt would tee up Barham moments later, but stopper Sam Hornby got down well to retrieve the ball and avoid giving away a possible penalty.
Flyde's quality in the top end of the field, notably more imposing than what we had seen from our previous National League Prem opponents, was starting to threaten. Maity Kosylo struck narrowly over the bar, prior to forcing Huk to punch out well from his line. The outstanding Nick Haughton then had a couple of efforts blocked in and outside the box in quick succession.
Dorking had established their threat on the counter attack, and got success on 22 minutes. A signature Matt Briggs run, which included a couple of excellent pieces of skill along the way, proceeded a cross/shot which was initially saved by Hornby, but landed in the path of James McShane arriving at the back post, who kept his cool to tuck home from the angle.
Dorking fashioned a series of half-chances just after the goal as pace getting forward continued to push Fylde. Isaac Philpot would loop a header over the bar, Barham nearly punished poor distribution from Hornby, and Briggs and McShane couldn't quite repeat the magic from earlier, a one-two on entry into the area not quite coming off.
All three central defenders and Dan Gallagher had made timely blocks to keep Fylde at bay as the visitors came back into the game, but Ed Harris would be cautioned just outside the area and be punished for it ten minutes before the break. Haughton stepped up and with a fair amount of swerve on the ball unleashed a strike which nestled into the bottom right corner. Another swerving dead ball effort from the attacker had Huk just about clinging on to the ball, whilst up the other end, brilliant persistence and a drag back to buy space from McManus in midfield went unrewarded, as his ball into Briggs wound up with a strike which flew over the bar.
Half-Time: The Wanderers 1 AFC Fylde 1
Muitt had an early chance in the second half, cutting in from the left and searching for the far right corner, but with the ball whistling just wide.
Fylde began turning the scew again, and another direct free kick giveaway punished Wanderers just before the hour mark. The free kick was again sweetly struck by Haughton and saved brilliantly by Huk at full stretch down to his right, but after the defence responded to the first rebound, a second opportunity fell sto skipper Neill Byrne who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Luke Moore came on to replace Jake Gallagher, and immediately instigated the attack that led to Wanderers getting back on terms. Manoeuvring the ball well out of midfield he found Briggs who bolted into the area, and after he and McShane had efforts break down, the ball spilt back to the lively wing back who buried a tidy finish inside the near post.
Muitt clipped a ball just over the far post after another burst of pace, and did well to keep the ball alive under challenge to set up McShane, his strike from distance deflecting out for a corner. On the resulting delivery, Barham went down in the area and despite heavy protests, waved play on. Barham would then have a chance at an acute, close angle to Hornby after Briggs initial shot was blocked, but the stopper stood firm to make the save.
As we entered the final twenty minutes, the endeavour of the Fylde midfield and attackers wasn't easing up, and Wanderers found themselves affording increased space between the lines. Luke Burke was allowed to travel into the area, and after his initial shot was kept out, top scorer Jordan Williams was on hand to tap home. Burke would get forward again in similar fashion a moment later, this time fizzling his shot wide.
Haughton would kill off the game several minutes from time, again being presented with space to get forward. He curled a sumptuous effort aiming for the far corner, the bal wouldl ultimately bounce off the post and roll across the line, just about crossing it. He would get down the left a minute later and was denied a hat-trick by Huk's low save. McShane and Briggs would strike from distance in efforts to try and salvage something at the end of normal time, but it was too late.
A frustrating end to an unforgettable journey in the FA Trophy this campaign, as Wanderers were punished by a lively Fylde front-line who's movement and pressing within the final third was a threat throughout. Dorking were good value with the sides at 2-2, as the pace of Muitt and Briggs caused problems on the counter, on a day where the presence of Jason Prior may have supplemented that and given an extra dimension which could have been the difference at the top end of the pitch. National League Premier opposition awaits us again in three days time, as we visit Woking in the Surrey Senior Cup.
Dorking Wanderers: 1 Slav Huk, 2 Isaac Philpot, 3 Sam Beard, 4 Ed Harris (c), 6 Dan Gallagher (19 Gez Sole 84'), 8 Niall McManus, 9 Jack Barham, 10 Jimmy Muitt, 11 James McShane, 14 Jake Gallagher (18 Luke Moore 59'), 15 Matt Briggs
Unused Subs: 5 Ben Dyett, 20 Tom Richards, 21 George Membrillera, 13 Josh Barnett (gk)
Goals: McShane 22'
Yellow Cards: Harris 34', Beard 74'
AFC Fylde: 31 Sam Hornby, 4 Neill Byrne (c), 5 Kyle Jameson (14 Tom Miller 69'), 6 Alex Whitmore, 7 Maity Kosylo (22 Sheldon Green 69'), 8 Ryan Croasdale, 10 Danny Philliskirk, 11 Jordan Williams, 12 Luke Burke, 15 Dan Bradley (23 James Stanley 76'), 27 Nick Haughton
Unused Subs: 21 Dan Lavercombe (gk), 2 Lewis Montrose, 16 Andy Taylor
Goals: Nick Haughton 35'
Yellow Cards: Philliskirk 80'
Referee: Alan Dale
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Matt Briggs