Gloucester City came to Victory Park with a game plan, stuck to it and returned home with all three points.
The no-nonsense Tigers have a particular style of play that isn’t always easy on the eye, but when executed as it was today it can prove to be very effective; strong, tall players and a direct delivery of the ball proved to be the answer to a difficult playing surface.
Right from the kick-off Chorley were on the attack and James Dean hit a second minute cross-come-shot which rattled the rear stanchion of the goal, but ten minutes later the striker had better luck.
Deano received a ball from Sam Ashton and flicked it out wide to Josh Hine. Hine quickly returned the ball to the advancing Dean and from a tight angle he smashed in his 13th league goal of the campaign, giving City keeper Paul White no chance.
From here on the game tightened up with the visitors closing down and harrying the home side, while resorting on tactics right out the LVG hand book – long balls!
Gloucester levelled the score when, following Ashton parrying an effort from Jack Harris, Chris Knowles was on hand to nod home from close range.
Matty Flynn was unlucky to shoulder a chance narrowly wide from a Dale Whitham delivery, then Whitham tried his luck from a free-kick out wide on the left flank, whipping the ball in but agonisingly inches wide of the far upright, then another Whitham ball in, this tome from a corner, was headed wide by skipper Andy Teague.
After the interval it was more of the same from the visitors, strong play with long passes, while the hosts tried to play and looked for a winner; but the Victory Park playing surface and some strange to say the least decisions from the officials made the challenge that bit harder and frustrations grew as the match progressed.
Ashton made the first meaningful save of the second half, palming a deflected shot before gathering the loose ball, then immediately after at the opposite end a glorious chance went begging.
Hine and Mark Ross combined on the right flank to release Whitham, whose perfect delivery was met by Jack Dorney just a matter of feet from White’s goal; however the ball was on his less than trusty right foot and the sliced effort that come from this boot looped, spun, then bounced clear off the foot of the post – it was one of these that looked harder to miss!
Hine appeared to be clipped in the area, but the officials were unmoved; Teague looped another header over; Whitham was millimetres from heading in from close range; Hine shot when a cross might have been the better option and White made a superb save to deny Hine from a perfect Dean cross – it was one way traffic for a spell, but the cutting edge was not there.
Aaron Burns challenged the keeper for a loose ball on the edge of the area and Dean followed up to net the ball, but the goal was disallowed and Burns received a caution
Minutes later Teague had his name added to the book for being the players closest to a City player who appeared to fling himself to the ground – the large contingent of Chorley supporters in the nearby main stand were in uproar at the players actions and the referee’s decision, and to make matters worse from the resulting free-kick that never was, the ball into the box was headed home by Teague to put the visitors in front with an OG!
With a little over ten minutes to play the hosts got into a situation of “more haste, less speed” as the search for an unexpectedly needed equaliser ensued.
Ashton was called into action as City hit on the break, but he saved well with his feet, then Teague saw yet another header go over the bar… but amazingly it was from just two yards out and he headed down with enough force that the ball bounced back up almost off the line and over the woodwork!
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Matt Flynn, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Aaron Burns, Jack Dorney
Subs: Harry Winter, Jake Cottrell, Chris Almond (Dorney, 82), Chris Simm, Jack Lynch
Goals: JAMES DEAN (11), Chris Knowles (31), Andy Teague (78 Own Goal)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Dale Whitham, his delivery’s today deserved a goal