Alex Birch (words) & David Airey (pics) at Croft Park
THE Magpies came from behind to claim a valuable three points at relegation-threatened Blyth Spartans.
The visitors bossed the first half for long periods, creating a number of very inviting opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.
Ollie Shenton was denied by the combination of Alex Mitchell and his post, before skipper-for-the-night Adam Blakeman curled a low effort agonisingly wide from 15 yards. Connor Hall could also have been awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Matt Elsdon that referee Bancroft saw as a corner.
There were warning signs at the other end with debutant goalie Matt Gould saving superbly from Cedric Main and Will McGowan. Then, Main saw space in front of him, took off, spun inside and finished low from 20 yards to give the home side a 27th minute lead.
The Magpies did well to hold their nerve after the goal and deservedly got back on terms right on the break. Will Tomlinson finding the corner of the Blyth net from 25 yards, leaving the home crowd stunned into silence.
Beginning on the front foot in the second half the visitors worked Mitchell twice through Hall and Mike Calveley, before Billy Whitehouse flashed an effort wide after Jon Ustabaşı went on a trademark run through the middle of the park.
Blyth forced a few corners that Chorley did well to repel as the game slowed down. Until, after a coupe of meaty challenges got the crowd going, the Magpies turned the screw. Billy Whitehouse intercepted a short pass, drove into the area and crossed low for sub Jack Sampson to tap home.
Mike Calveley, on his 100 appearance for the Magpies, was then sent off for a second booking, leaving the visitors with 10 minutes to hold on. And hold on they did, with one brilliant clearance by Scott Wilson in injury time sealing the three points.
Blyth Mitchell; Liddle, Hickey, McGowan (Round, 82′), Elsdon, Deverdics (c), Main, Chiabi (Hodgson, 65′), Cousin-Dawson, Barrett, Spellman. Subs not used: Walker, Dopson, Pani.
Chorley Gould; Smith, Wilson, Whitehouse, Calveley, Tomlinson (Nolan, 75′), Ustabasi, Shenton (Sampson, 71′), Blakeman (c), Johnson (Henley, 61′), Hall. Subs not used: Leather, Britton.
It’s a big three points for us. We didn’t do ourselves justice in the first half, but the second half was much better and we got the result we deserved in the end. – Andy Preece
Goals (assists) Main 27′ | Tomlinson 44′ (Ustabasi), Sampson 76′ (Whitehouse)
Cautions Spellman 16′ | Calveley 33′, 84′, Wilson 42′, Ustabasi 72′
Dismissals None | Calveley 84′
Officials James Bancroft | Macauley Gibson & Sam Bayley
Three hours the other way on Saturday – Brackley Town await at St James Park on Saturday (3pm); Adults £13 | Concessions £8 | Under-18s £5 | Under-10s £1 | Under-5s FREE (online or on the day)