Saturday November 26th, 3pm
It was a case of “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” for Chorley, as the Magpies could only manage a draw against lowly Whitby, following the midweek heroics at Northwich writes Shaun Baldwin
With Garry Flitcoft naming the same team that toppled the title chasers on Tuesday, there was an anticipation that Chorley would be able to add further misery to what has been a traumatic season for the Yorkshiremen. But bottom of the table Whitby were having none of it and deservedly led 2-0 at the interval before a second half comeback meant that the points were shared.
On a slippery pitch and in driving rain for much of the afternoon, Whitby more than held their own, and took the lead in the second minute courtesy of a forty yard punt from James Beadle, which caught Russ Saunders napping, and dipped spectacularly into the net with the keeper looking to the heavens.
Chorley were struggling to gain any rhythm, and only a Jamie Vermiglio drive had troubled the visiting defence before Whitby doubled the lead on twenty minutes. A seemingly innocuous free kick low into the Chorley penalty area somehow caused panic, and the ball was swept past Saunders by Jamie Clark. It could have been even worse moments later as Saunders produced an athletic stop to keep out a point blank header, when really it should have been 0-3 with only a quarter of the match played.
The home team could and should have halved the deficit on the half hour mark, as the lively Adam Roscoe broke away down the left, looked up, and rolled an inch perfect pass into the path of Dale Whitham, but last season’s twenty-goal man skied the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat. The Chorley midfielder will not want to be reminded of this glaring miss.
Other than Vermiglio’s industry and the constant threat posed by Roscoe, Chorley were very much under par for the first half, and strong words will no doubt have been spoken during the interval in the home changing room.
Five minutes into the second half, the manager shook things up, replacing brother Steve and Mark Ross with Chris Denham and Tom Walker. Shortly afterwards, a dipping volley from outside the penalty box by Roscoe sailed just wide, but the long awaited breakthrough eventually came after 62 minutes. Andy Teague leapt well to head a Tom Ince free kick against the bar, and fellow defender Wayne Maden prodded home the rebound from close range.
With Chorley now in the ascendancy, Vermiglio burst into the area only to drive his shot just over the bar, and Denham’s stunning header from a Walker cross came agonisingly close to levelling things up, but the Magpies were not to be denied for much longer. With thirteen minutes on the clock, a carefully weighted through ball from Ince allowed Steve Foster to race clear and produce a trademark lob over Whitby’s keeper, who for once had been left exposed by his defenders.
Precision passing from Roscoe, Whitham and Denham provided Foster with another chance soon after, but the chance was smothered at the near post, and Teague found the space but not the accuracy to win it with a late header. Six minutes of injury time, mostly due to a nasty looking injury to Walker, saw chances for both teams, with an almighty scramble inside the Whitby six yard box somehow failing to provide a dramatic winner for Chorley.
So, another two points dropped and the Magpies’ position in the top five is now under real threat. A good result at F.C. United of Manchester next week is needed to maintain a gap between Chorley and the chasing pack. But the crowd of 657 could not fault the entertainment provided by both teams in difficult conditions, and few could deny that, on balance, Whitby fully deserved a share of the spoils.
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Ally Brown, Andy Teague (capt), Wayne Maden, Jamie Vermiglio, Dale Whitham, Steve Flitcroft, Adam Roscoe, Steve Foster, Tom Ince.
Subs: Chris Denham (for Flitcroft, 50) Tom Walker (for Ross, 50) Andy Russell (for Walker, 70) Jordan Bowen, Tom Williams
Goals: James Beadle (2), Jamie Clarke (20), WAYNE MADEN (62), STEVE FOSTER (77)
Man of the Match: Adam Roscoe, another great all round performance, linking up play intelligently, attacking the Whitby defence at every opportunity, and never afraid to go in where it hurts.