Saturday December 3rd, 3pm
Chorley earned a deserved point from a goalless, but absorbing, clash at Gigg Lane, in which both sides hit the woodwork and the Magpies played out the closing minutes with ten men following striker Chris Denham’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
Garry Flitcroft’s men put off the field troubles to one side, a nd gave a spirited performance, cheered on by a sizeable and vocal away support. In chilly conditions, and with several torrential showers during the afternoon, the game was fiercely contested and provided an entertaining spectacle for the crowd.
The home team made the better start and squandered a number of clear cut opportunities in the opening fifteen minutes, with the pace of their attackers giving Chorley’s defenders a torrid time.
Chorley also lost Jamie Vermiglio before the twenty minute mark; his replacement being Tom Williams.
Midway through the first half, Denham should have opened the scoring but rolled the ball wide when clean through on goal. Soon afterwards, the striker’s fierce drive produced a fine save from the FCUM keeper, as Chorley enjoyed their best spell of the match. Ten minutes before half time, a terrific Adam Roscoe freekick, awarded for a blatant handball just outside the penalty area, smashed against the crossbar, though the home team continued to look threatening on the break.
So 0-0 at half-time, and all to play for in the second half, for which Andy Russell replaced skipper Andy Teague. Chances came and went for both teams, with a deflected Denham strike and a timid header from the unmarked Wayne Maden proving to be the nearest that Chorley came to finding the net.
The visiting fans and players alike became increasingly exasperated with the match officials, particularly when the home keeper clearly slid out of the penalty area while keeping hold of the ball, yet, incredibly, no offence was spotted by the referee or his seemingly well-positioned assistant.
As the game entered its final stages, Maden expertly marshalled the Chorley backline, nullifying whatever FCUM could muster, and the lively Shelton Payne replaced the tiring Steve Foster. Denham’s afternoon ended prematurely when he received his second caution for simulation, and Chorley survived a late scare as the woodwork rattled following a powerful header from an FC United corner..
A winner for either team would have been harsh at that late stage, and a draw proved to be a fair result. Chorley should take great heart from this performance and result against an FC United team which was much improved from the one that visited Victory Park in September. A big crowd, and a good result, are now needed next Saturday when the Magpies host Nantwich, as the season enters a critical period.
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Tom Ince, Andy Teague (capt), Wayne Maden, Jamie Vermiglio, Dale Whitham, Steve Flitcroft, Chris Denham, Steve Foster, Adam Roscoe.
Subs: Andy Russell (for Teague), Matt Walwyn, Tom Williams (for Vermiglio), Shelton Payne (for Foster), Dean Porter
Man of the Match: Wayne Maden – after a shaky opening, grew in stature and proved to be a rock at the heart of Chorley’s defence.