“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Dickens once famously wrote in his novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’ For Chorley, it was a tale of two halves in their latest pre-season friendly on Wednesday night against Wigan Athletic Development Squad at Victory Park writes Josh Vosper.
After a quiet opening period, the Latics started the brighter as Craig Davies saw his effort fizzle past Ashton’s post. A series of corners then followed as the Magpies defence stood tall and resolute. On 10 minutes the home side burst into life. Lynch turned provider, putting through a fine ball to trialist Jason Walker who was closed down and eventually clattered in the box. Everyone in the ground expected Mr D Bond to point to the spot, but for some inexplicable reason he awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Up stepped Adam Roscoe who smashed the ball in the Wigan wall and it eventually trickled out for a goal kick.
There was less than twenty minutes on the clock when the influential Jake Cottrell managed to unleash a shot but Levercombe saved comfortably. Before that Will Beesley made a surging run, beating at least five Latics players, but after dancing his way into the box couldn’t connect properly and struggled to test the goalkeeper. The visitors had a couple of chances on the half-hour mark. First Ashton denied Sam Williams with a comfortable save to his right and then ex-Magpie Sam Cosgrove turned a shot over the bar. On 37 minutes the referee ignored Chorley claims for penalty yet again. After some lovely build up play, Jarvis played the perfect ball to Walker, who was tripped in the box but Mr D Bond was having none of it. As the interval approached Jarvis’ rasping effort flew wide and Levercombe produced a good save to deny the ever-impressive Jack Lynch.
Wigan started the second half confidently but Ashton was on hand to deny Cosgrove once more. Both sides were playing possession football, but the game needed some kind of impetus. On 60 minutes Jansen made the necessary changes and that’s when the tide started to turn. Andy Teague, Dale Whitham, Josh O’Keefe and Stephen Jordan all entered the fray and started to cause Wigan problems. Even more so five minutes later, as striking pair Sefton Gonzales and Marcus Carver graced the field. Wave after wave of attack started as Carver launched the ball to Gonzales, but he couldn’t connect fully with his head. As 15 minutes remained, the duo worked together once more, as Carver’s cross landed to Gonzales, who unleased a fierce shot, but somehow the Wigan goalkeeper produced a brilliant one-handed save.
As time ticked away Jansen brought trialist Dan Turner on and the Port Vale youngster looked promising, causing Wigan all kinds of problems down the wing. With 10 minutes remaining it looked as though Chorley had found a winner. Whitham whipped in a corner and skipper Andy Teague towered above everyone else, but his effort agonizingly crashed against both the crossbar and post, as Levercombe was left helpless. Although the onslaught didn’t stop. Josh O’Keefe provided the perfect ball to Whitham who saw his thunderbolt on the edge of the box deflect for a corner. Chorley had by now settled into their rhythm and on 86 minutes Carver created an excellent opportunity after a dazzling run, but after linking well with Gonzales his low effort was kept out by the Wigan goalkeeper, as it squirmed to safety. The Magpies mustered further attempts at goal and Whitham could have deservedly got the winner in the final minute but his header whistled just over the bar.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Matt Challoner, Will Beesley, Scott Leather, Kieran Charnock, Adam Roscoe, Jake Cottrell, Jack Lynch, Jason Walker, Jordan Connerton, Paul Jarvis.
Subs: Andy Teague, Stephen Jordan, Josh O’Keefe, Dale Whitham, Jack Hartley, Marcus Carver, Dan Turner, Sefton Gonzales, Jack Cookson.