Words: Alex Birch; Pictures: Josh Vosper
Chorley came from a goal down to grab a point at Leamington after Josh O’Keefe’s 95th minute leveller cancelled out the hosts first half opener.
Our hosts made one change from their draw at York City in midweek as Jack Lane replaced Jamie Hood in defence.
For Chorley, Matt Challoner returned from suspension and Jake Cottrell also returned. Andy Teague & Alex Newby made way.
Leamington: Breeden (c); English, Gudger, Flanagan (Clarke, 76′), Hood, Mace, Dunbar (Obeng, 78′), Gittings, Bishop (Dwyer, 84′), Edwards, Taylor. Subs not used: Bowen, Hood.
Chorley: Urwin; Challoner, Blakeman, Anson (Wilson, 59′), Meppen-Walter, Jordan, Cottrell (A.Newby, 68′), O’Keefe (c), Carver (Hooper, 78′), Almond, E.Newby. Subs not used: Whitham, Lussey.
The first half wasn’t a classic. The wind made it almost impossible for Matt Urwin to kick over halfway, while Leamington’s passes invariably ended up over hit and out of play.
The best chance ahead of Leamington’s opener fell to Kieran Dunbar, who blazed over from 10 yards after Connor Taylor gave himself a yard to cross from the left. Dunbar was involved again when Brakes took the lead. The midfielder was unmarked in the area allowing him to cross for Colby Bishop the slam home from close range.
Louis Almond almost equalised just before the break, but Tony Breeden, initially surprised by the long range effort, managed to claw the ball off the line.
The wind picked up even more in the second half, which early on lead to a comedic clearance from home goalie Breeden that went 20 yards forward and 30 yards sideways. With little need for three defenders Josh Wilson replaced Adam Anson as The Magpies pushed forward. Alex Newby also entered the fray due to the wind acting as an extra defender, but still no clear cut chances materialised until, with 15 minutes to go, Alex Newby fired towards goal, only for James Mace to clear off the line.
Third sub James Hooper had another clear chance, but his stinging effort was palmed up and over the bar by a relieved Breeden. Then, deep in stoppage time, Wilson’s knock down was hit low and hard into the corner of the net by Josh O’Keefe to salvage a deserved point.
That’s what he said:
I thought we deserved at least a point and we were the better side throughout, but the conditions were awful. Despite that we kept going and got the goal we deserved. I’m delighted – Jamie Vermiglio
HT 1-0 /FT 1-1
Goals: Bishop (32′); O’Keefe (90’+5)
Cautions: Anson (23′)
Referee: Aaron Bannister
Assistants: Richie Watkins & Gareth Thomas
Weather: Clear & very windy
The first of a quickfire North East doubleheader at Victory Park. Darlington are the visitors on Saturday in a match rearranged from November due to our FA Cup run, before Blyth Spartans rock up the weekend before Christmas.
Pay-on-the-gate: £12 adults, £9 over-60s/NHS/first responders/armed services, £7 students, £5 12-16s & FREE under-12s