Saturday January 29th
THE Magpies salvaged a point with a 96th minute leveller, but the result should never have been hanging in the balance in a totally one sided game.
Albion, now a vastly different outfit from the one that shipped twelve goals against Bamber Bridge and Chester recently, having made a host of new signing in the last week, defended doggedly throughout, but had little attacking ambition other than lofting the ball clear up field in an to attempt to catch us on the break. As a result the linesman arm must have been aching at the final whistle with Albion being caught offside almost every time they ventured forward.
Attacking wise Chorley did everything but score in the first period. The first chance fell to Jack Dorney, but his shot was the first of many saves keeper Ashley Connor made, without a doubt he was the Albion Man of the Match. Less than a minute later Connor foiled Jordan Stepien with an outstretched boot after Dale Whitham put the striker through.
On a rare foray into the Chorley half a speculative 30-yard effort had Aaron Grundy scurrying back, but the ball drifted harmlessly over the bar.
The ever impressive John Cunliffe had a shot blocked by Connor, the ball then landed at the feet of Dorney but the wingers side footed effort was cleared off the line.
Albion’s footballing moment of the half saw their right winger get around the back of the defence and cross into the box, but the shot went sailing over the netting behind the goal!
Stepien then almost got onto the end of a headed ball into the box by Whitham, but that man Conner was there again, then the home custodian saved from Cunliffe.
The second half looked to bring more of the same when Cunliffe curled an effort just wide, then a sublime piece of control from Stepien on the edge of the box bamboozled two defenders; he squared to Dorney whose shot was cleared off the line. The ball dropped nicely for Cunliffe but his spectacular overhead bicycle kick attempt went narrowly wide.
Tom Ince then pushed forward and played in Dorney, but the ball was robbed off his foot before he could get his shot off.
Then the inevitable happened, a goal – but at the wrong end!
Albion, who hadn’t been able to get over the halfway line since the interval, broke forward as a long ball over the top wasn’t cleared by Lee Woodyatt and Lee Bennett stole in to finish beyond Grundy.
Garry Flitcroft was preparing to make changes prior to this goal and immediately made a double change with Mark Houghton and Shelton Payne replacing Stepien and Dorney.
Chorley nearly equalised when an Ince cross was almost turned in for an own goal, then as Payne’s pace started to tell down the right flank, Cornelly hacked the winger down for one of several luminous green cards(!) the referee brandished at the hosts!
Then still totally against the run of play Albion grabbed a second. Following a mix-up between Mark Ross and Woodyatt possession was gained just outside the box and this time Joshua Moore netted for the hosts.
Chorley started to put a few longer balls into the box rather than constantly trying to play football through or around the opposition, and this new tactic worked. A deep ball into the box was half cleared, Steve Flitcroft rifled a shot in from the edge of the box and a deft back heal flick from Whitham sent the keeper the wrong way - two-one!
Andy Russell replaced Tom Walker with a little over ten minutes remaining to add height and aggression to the front-line and his added presence certainly had an effect.
Ince then picked up a caution for dissent following one of many instance of time wasting by the hosts that had been taking place throughout the game.
Houghton was extremely unlucky to hammer the ball against the post following excellent football from Whitham, then another caution came the visitors way for blatant time wasting as the ball was smashed out of the ground an age after the whistle had blown for off-side.
The referee signalled a minimum of five additional minutes would be played and every second (and a few more) would be needed as we had to wait until the final kick of the game for the equaliser to come as Russell’s shot almost broke the upright before nestling into the corner.
On this performance the result was most definitely two points dropped as there have been many games this season where we have created far fewer chances and yet won easily.
Finally full credit must be given to all at Ossett Albion for ensuring this game would go ahead, especially as so many of their nearest rivals had their games called off earlier in the day. With afternoon temperatures well above zero the was no sign of any frost on the playing surface at kick-off and the same scene would have no doubt been the same at other grounds that instead stood empty!
Starting XI: Aaron Grundy, Lee Woodyatt, Tom Walker, Mark Ross, Jerome Fitzgerald, Dale Whitham, Jack Dorney, Steve Flitcroft, Jordan Stepien, John Cunliffe, Tom Ince
Subs: Mark Houghton (Stepien, 60), Payne (Dorney, 60), Fairhurst, Smith, Russell (Walker, 78)
Goals: Lee Bennett (61), Joshua Moore (74), DALE WHITHAM (77), ANDY RUSSELL (90+6)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Jerome Fitzgerald, a rock at the back.