Facing a full strength Skrill Premier side in the FA Trophy is never going to be an easy match for any side, let alone one from two division below non-league’s top flight, but on today’s performance Chorley can be proud with the draw and a little disappointed not to get a deserved win.
Despite constant wind and rain both sides put on a good show in front of a crowd of 790 and any neutrals in the ground would have been hard pressed to identify which team came from which level.
With Josh Hine returning to the attack Chorley had a pacey outlet and used this to full effect with Forest Green left-back Ed Asafu-Adajau often tied in knots.
The visitors had the pot-shot of the game; a Jared Hodgkiss drilled drive from outside the box that was always rising just over the bar on 6 minutes.
On 12 minutes Hine jinked his way into the box but his low effort was blocked, then the visitors hit on the break with Matthew Barnes-Homer only finding Sam Ashton with his effort.
On 20 minutes an off the ball clash resulted in Jamie Vermiglio being flattened, the officials missed the incident but cautioned the Chorley midfielder and Rovers Danny Wright as players from both sides ‘discussed’ the situation!
Ashton pulled off a smart save to deny Marcus Kelly following a flick on from right Wright following a long punt up field by keeper Sam Russell as the visitors went long.
The combination of pace and power of Hine and James Dean was causing the Rovers backline problems all afternoon. Hine was unlucky on the half hour mark to see a shot from a superb Dean centre deflected for a corner then Dean’s luck was out with two chances in a minute coming to nothing.
Seven minutes after the restart former Wrexham striker Danny Wright, already on a caution from the first half, was shown a second yellow card after elbowing Chorley captain Andy Teague. How it was only a second yellow and not a straight red only the referee can explain, but the outcome was the same and he promptly disappeared down the tunnel.
In normal circumstances facing a side reduced to ten men would give the home side a massive advantage. However with Rovers being a full time outfit and also on the back to almost two weeks rest the dismissal potentially kept the competition even for the remainder of the game whereas with a full complement on the pitch Rovers should have gained an ever increasing advantage the longer the game went on.
Immediately after the sending off Yan Klukowski attempted to lob Ashton, but the Chorley keeper pulled off as fine finger tipped save to deny the midfielder then Barnes-Homer headed wide from close range.
Adam Mather, responsible for most set piece plays in the absence of Tom Baker and Keiran Walmsley, swung in a left wing cross for Dean, but the Magpies front man could only find Russell in the visitor’s goal.
Barnes-Home was put clean through as Rovers hit on the break but he squandered his chance, hitting his shot straight at Ashton.
As the final twenty minutes approached a rash of substitutes were introduced by both sides, with Darren Stephenson and Adam Roscoe replacing Vermiglio and the impressive new signing Adam Mitter.
Stephenson was immediately in the thick of the action, first of all hitting a show straight at Russell, then seeing a Mather corner rebound off him and dropping onto the line, only for the mud and Rovers defence to prevent a goal and clear the danger.
Approaching the final minute a Dale Whitham cross almost caught Russell out as it nearly sailed in under the bar then into injury time Teague shot tamely when he couldn’t get the ball from under his feet then there were shouts for a penalty as Dean appeared to be bundled over in the box.
At the final whistle the crowd to a man applauded the Chorley team for a fantastic performance which ensures the clubs name is in the hat for the third round draw on Monday, but we now face a 320+ mile midweek round trip!
Chorley XI: Sam Ashton, Adam Mather, Adam Mitter, Andy Teague, Keil O’Brien, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine, Jamie Vermiglio, James Dean, Dale Whitham, Paul Jarvis
Subs: Darren Stephenson (Vermiglio, 68), Adam Roscoe (Mitter, 77), Alex Meaney, Simon Wiles, Aaron Grundy
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: The Team! Not fair to single any one player above the rest in a great team performance