Chorley and Boston United both put on committed and determined performances, but neither side could break down the other and Saturday’s second leg at the Jakemans Stadium now becomes a winner takes all affair.
Following major disruption on the M62 the kick-off was delayed until 8pm to give the travelling supporters extra time to arrive, and indeed within minutes of the game kicking off the final few Pilgrim travellers arrived to swell the visiting number to approximately 400, a superb effort for a midweek 300 mile round trip.
Once the game was underway Chorley made the early running, but Harry Winter’s 5th minute drive swung well wide of the goal.
Kaine Felix burst into the Chorley area after dispossessing Paul Jarvis, but he dragged his shot across the face of Sam Ashton’s goal.
Visiting keeper Max Steyjek miscued a clearance which striker James Dean pounced on, but the Magpies top scorer could hit the target with his shot.
Chorley were awarded a free kick following a high boot from Nick Walker on 24 minutes, but Adam Roscoe’s effort sailed harmlessly over the bar from. Then four minutes later Boston were awarded a free kick when Dean was adjudged to have used a high boot – the referee this time though cautioned Dean after leaving Walker unpunished!
Just after the half hour mark Dayle Southwell got around the back of the Magpies backline, but Ashton did well to smother the last effort of the half.
After the break both defences continued to stand strong with clear cut chances at a premium but Boston crafter two opportunities; Felix fizzing the first across the face of Ashton’s goal which was followed by Mark Jones blazing over when it looked easier to hit the target.
Both sides made changes but neither manager took a gamble, with like for like replacements taking place.
On 80 minutes Boston spurned the best chance of the match. A free-kick was awarded against Dean just outside his own area and the following free-kick routine was straight off the Boston training ground. Kyle Dixon play the ball short to Dayle Southwel, who peeled off the wall and found himself with space and time directly in front of goal; however he screwed his shot well wide - Ashton then berated his defence for a moment of collective indecision.
At the final whistle, or should that be the half time whistle, neither side had done enough to merit a win, though the visitors had had the better of the few opportunities on offer – all to do on Saturday
Chorley XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Paul Jarvis, Andy Teague, Chris Doyle, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Harry Winter, Jack Dorney
Subs: Jake Cottrell (Winter, 67), Chris Almond (Dorney, 78), Matty Flynn, Aaron Burns, Adam Mather#
Boston XI: Max Steyjek, Liam Marrs, Rene Steer, Grant Roberts, Scott Garner, Carl Piergianni, Kaine Felix, Zak Mills, Dayle Southwell, Mark Jones, Nick Walker
Subs: Marc Newsham, Sam Vince, Kyle Dixon (Steer, 77), James McGhee, Jake Hall
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Andy Teague, a captains performance at the back.