Chorley recorded a crucial victory at the Weaver Stadium on Tuesday night despite playing the majority of the game with 10 men writes Josh Vosper. After taking the lead in the 11th minute through a Josh Hine penalty, the Magpies held on to secure three massive points and continue their promotion charge.
Garry Flitcroft’s men might have taken an early lead when Dale Whithams’s shot fizzled over the bar in the fifth minute, when the visitors started brightly and made good use of both flanks. After 10 minutes Josh Hine bust into the box with ex-Magpie goalkeeper Jack Cudworth bringing him down for a clear penalty. Hine was the last man but for some reason the referee didn’t even produce a card for the crude challenge on Chorley’s centre forward. It was Hine that took the resulting spot kick sending Cudworth the wrong way to give the visitors an early lead.
After 23 minutes Adam Mather made a mistake at the back but Nantwich couldn’t take advantage with Burns heading wide. By now the home side were putting Chorley under pressure and after 26 minutes Dale Whitham made a sliding challenge on Oliver Devenney that the referee deemed a straight red. The Chorley bench looked incensed, in particular manager Garry Flitcroft who argued that the midfielder had won the ball.
With backs to the wall Chorley produced some of their best football to date, standing tall and resolute in defence.
The Dabbers had chances, in particular Oliver Devenney who had half a shot at goal but it went straight into the hands of Sam Ashton. Another chance fell to Matty O’Neill but his effort went sailing over the bar as Chorley stood firm to see off the first 45 minutes.
After the break Danny Johnson’s side only created limited chances and couldn’t take advantage with the extra man on field. Aaron Burns had a dipping free kick finger-tipped over the bar by Sam Ashton and Russell Courtney headed wide from a corner. At the other end Chorley were still pressing for a second with James Dean working hard up front, as Tom Baker provided him long balls. With few chances to note Chorley could have doubled their lead mid-way through the half, but Cudworth dealt with Baker’s 25-yard free kick.
With time ticking Adam Roscoe and Simon Wiles made appearances from the bench to give fresh impetuous to the team. Wiles should have finished the game off with 10 minutes to go but his effort went blazing over the bar. The Magpies' well marshalled rearguard restricted the hosts few chances with the game coming to a close, Burns’ free kick held by Ashton and Jones narrowly missed the target after the ball was pulled back into his path. It was in a last ditch attempt to clear the ball that Tom Baker fell to the ground and hobbled off, minutes later to be replaced by Mark Ross as Chorley dealt with the constant pressure from the Dabbers.
By now the game was into added time and fog had arisen over the Weaver Stadium. The referee eventually blew his whistle to the delight of the large Magpie contingent and three points had been secured. It was much deserved, as the 10 men resembled gladiators walking off victorious. The well-organised defence showed strength and resolution to earn a vital victory in their title chase.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Kieran Walmsley, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Keil O’Brien, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine, Tom Baker, James Dean, Darren Stephenson, Dale Whitham
Subs: Adam Roscoe (Josh Hine, 71), Mark Ross (Tom Baker, 91), Simon Wiles (James Dean, 74), Alex Meaney, Matt Jansen
Goals: JOSH HINE (11 Pen)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Andy Teague - A true captain’s performance who was instrumental in the heart of defence. Although all the team deserve credit for battling and grafting for such a long period with only 10 men.