by Saskia Bowes
Chorley were looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat to Barnsley as they hosted Chester-le-Street in the FAWNL.
The game started at a high tempo with both sides showing their physical strength. Numerous challenges were made in the opening exchanges which made for an exciting start to the match. The first real chance fell to Kerry Nickson after a corner was swung in from the right, but the centre half couldn’t direct her header. Chester-le-Street then had a couple of chances with their striker Nic Havery shooting from distance, but Rachel Darbyshire gathered with ease.
Chorley took the lead after 27 minutes. The ball was cleared out to Katy Morris who was at least 20 yards from goal and she thumped the ball into the top corner giving the goalkeeper no chance. Morris has now scored two goals in two games for Chorley and both goals have been of the highest order.
Chorley continued to press and almost doubled their advantage, but Scarlett Smith couldn’t quite get the shot away after great play from Grace Vella. Chester-le-Street then went up the other end and had a goal disallowed due to a push on Darbyshire. Both sides were playing the ball around nicely but were missing the final pass and therefore the score remained 1-0 at the break.
Just 30 seconds after the restart the visitors equalised. A defence mix-up allowed Havery to get beyond the back line and despite a good initial save from Darbyshire, the striker was there to tuck home the rebound. Chorley showed great character though to settle into the game and had the chance to re-take the lead on 63 minutes when Emily Stocks was brought down in the area. Megan Searson dispatched the spot kick to give Chorley the lead again.
But Chester again equalised against the run of play. A ball was whipped in from the right and Havery was there to plant her header beyond Darbyshire.
Chorley had several chances to take the lead for the third time with Vella hitting the post from a long range free kick and Stocks curling a shot narrowly wide. But it was Chester who took the lead with 15 minutes to go when Lizzy Clarke beat the offside trap to fire into the goal off the underside of the bar.
Chorley threw everything at the visitors’ backline in order to salvage something from the game, but Rachel Wood’s effort in the dying seconds cannoned back off the crossbar and Chorley were left to rue missed chances.
Player of the match (voted by opponents): Katy Morris
Chorley: Darbyshire; Mitchell, Nickson, Searson, Topping (Stocks, 60’); Kemp (Musker, 78’), Vella, Walker (c), Morris, Wood; Smith. Subs not used: Atkinson, Bowes.
HT 1-0 / FT 2-3
Goals: Morris (27’), Searson (pen, 63’); Havery (46’, 72′), Clarke (80’)
The FA Cup first round tie against Stockport County, being played at Barnoldswick Town’s Greenberfield Lane ground due to the men’s FA Cup tie with Doncaster being moved to Sunday.