Chorley extended their unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought draw in the Vanarama North’s most Southerly outpost, Oxford City.
With Josh Hine, Jack Dorney and Jamie Vermiglio all out still unavailable due to injury and Kyle Jacobs completing the final game of a ban carried over from last season at Stockport County, manager Garry Flitcroft would have been happy to see Harry Winter recover from the symptoms of flu and Darren Stephenson available after completing his suspension.
In a game that contained few clear cut changes, the first half was by far the better of the two as a spectator spectacle.
Sam Ashton was redundant in the early stages as the Magpies took a grip of the game without testing his counterpart Mark Scott.
Central Defender blazed the first chance of this game high and wide with a 25 yard volley, but minutes later collected the first card of the afternoon with foul on the edge of the area, but fortunately the resulting free-kick was easily dealt with.
From this point the home side started to creep back into the game with the ball going from end to end but neither number one was stretched until the half hour mark when Sam Ashton pulled off a smart save from a strike from distance, then five minutes later he combined with the impressive Adam Dodd to keep the score line blank; charging out of his area while Dodd covered behind to pick up the pieces.
As the half drew to a close Oxford continued to press; a header flew over the bar then an inswinging cross bounced off the top of the woodwork, then Chris Almond and Paul Jarvis combined, but Scott did well to block then recover with Dodd closing in on him.
After the break, and after a quiet opening ten minutes the home side, started to press found Ashton hard to beat, comfortably saving an acrobatically volleyed effort then tipping a free-kick over the bar.
With the Magpies looking ‘leggy’ on a horribly bobbly pitch, Garry brought Stephenson, Adam Mather and Adam Roscoe into the action, replacing James Dean, Chris Almond and Mark Ross respectively, the latter withdrawn due to injury.
Prior to the last two changes, Chorley were reduced to ten men. Hesitancy between Andy Teague and Winter left the defence exposed and Winter last gasp challenge on the edge of the area was deemed a professional foul and a straight red was show. For the final 15 minutes the home side pressed but Chorley dug in and stood firm to see the game out and return home with a point.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Dodd, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Jake Cottrell, Paul Jarvis, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Harry Winter, Chris Almond
Subs: Adam Roscoe (Ross, 85), Stephenson (Dean, 65), Mather (Almond 83), Jack Lynch, Laquan Esdaille-Biney
Sending Off: HARRY WINTER (75)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Sam Ashton, Oxford couldn’t find a way past him