Words: Liam Kealey; Pictures: Stefan Willoughby
Chorley hit the front again in the Vanarama National League North promotion race with a gutsy come-from-behind victory over struggling Darlington at Victory Park.
Andy Teague and Alex Newby returned to the starting XI for the home side.
Darlington brought in new loanees Alex Wollerton & Andy Nelson to their starting line-up.
Chorley: Urwin (Eccles, 46′), Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (c), Anson (Hooper, 38′), Jordan, A.Newby (Cottrell, 78′), O’Keefe, Carver, Almond, E.Newby. Subs not used: Whitham, Wilson.
Darlington: Maddison, Trotman, Kokolo (O’Hanlon, 59′), Wheatley, Burn, Galbraith, Wollerton, Nicholson, Saunders (Glover, 76′), Nelson, Thompson (c). Subs not used: Hall, Lingthep, Morrison.
Chorley began the game in slightly sloppy fashion, as the rain cascaded down. However, as the game progressed so did Chorley’s quality of football. After Matt Urwin was forced to make a great one-on-one save, Chorley increased the tempo. Louis Almond had two efforts from outside the area and both forced Darlington goalkeeper Jonny Maddison into action.
The closest efforts came from Marcus Carver and Matt Challoner. Both were taken in quick succession and were only denied as a result of some great goal-line defending from Darlington. Soon after, completely against the run of play, Darlington’s Andrew Nelson latched onto a poor pass back and calmly lofted the ball over Matt Urwin for a debut goal.
Chorley started the second half very brightly and their constant pressure through the half meant Darlington had just three shots. Straight from the whistle Chorley were knocking on the door and when the Quakers were unable to deal with a corner Carver was there to smash the ball home.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for The Magpies, as substitute keeper Danny Eccles, who replaced the injured Urwin at half time, was forced to make a brilliant close range save.
Galvanised, the home side push on and scored the go-ahead goal when Andy Teague ventured into the opposition’s box to finish off a great pull back from Adam Blakeman after 67 minutes. Almost straight from the restart visiting ‘keeper Maddison made an unfortunate error which Alex Newby was the quickest to react to. The game had been turned on its head and The Magpies were heading back to the top of the table.
There was one last scare, despite the visitors’ lack of creativity throughout the second half, when Nelson grabbed his second with another delightful chip, but it was merely a consolation.
That’s what he said
I’m delighted with the victory. I thought we did extremely well, even before we fell behind, and to be back at the top of the league is a great feeling – Jamie Vermiglio
HT 0-1 /FT 3-2
Goals: Carver (55′), Teague (67′), A.Newby (68′); Nelson (39′, 85′)
Shots: Chorley 23 Darlington 9
Fouls: Chorley 11 Darlington 7
Corners: Chorley 6 Darlington 2
Referee: Dean Watson
Assistants: Stuart Morland & Adam Brown
Weather: Cold, wet & windy
We return to Victory Park next Saturday for the visit of Blyth Spartans in the Vanarama National League North.
Pay-on-the-gate admission: £12 adults, £9 over-60s/NHS/first responders/armed services, £7 students, £5 12-16s & FREE accompanied under-12s.
*additional reporting by Alex Birch