Saturday December 10th, 3pm
Saturday 10th December 2011, 3pm Chorley secured three points at Victory Park for the first time in two months, with a battling performance against a resilient Nantwich team, which was reduced to ten men for the last twenty minutes. A first half strike from Steve Foster proved enough to claim the win, though many in the crowd of 766 will feel that the Magpies’ overall superiority should have produced a more comfortable victory.
Not for the first time this season, Chorley began tentatively, and the visitors’ Ben Mills had the first clear sight of goal, but miscued his strike from twelve yards. As Chorley settled, nice work from Adam Roscoe and Foster gave Chris Denham the home team’s first opportunity, but his drive was met with a smart save from Jonny Brain in the Nantwich goal. Ally Brown and Tom Williams looked lively down the left, and Williams tried his luck from from outside the box, but the shot was smothered by the alert Brain.
Midway through the first period, Dale Whitham came agonisingly close to opening the scoring, but saw his deft header bounce to safety from the post, following more good work from Denham. The Cheshire club also came close moments later, when a header from Mills looped just over the bar and onto the roof of the net.
Ten minutes from the break, a neat build up involving Roscoe and Denham set up Foster, but Brain was again up to the task. However, Chorley were not to be denied for much longer, and what proved to be the decisive breakthrough came after 37 minutes. Mark Ross sent a free kick deep into the penalty box, where Wayne Maden rose to head the ball back across goal and into the path of the advancing Foster, who expertly volleyed the ball home.
After the break, Nantwich enjoyed their best spell, though the assured Russ Saunders and the robust Andy Teague dealt with everything that was thrown at them. Chorley passed the ball around nicely for much of the game, and continued to have chances as play became more stretched, with John Cunliffe unluckily denied a goal by the assistant referee’s flag. Cunliffe, who had replaced the impressive Denham, linked up play nicely and Steve Flitcroft enjoyed a fine game, bossing the midfield.
A flurry of bookings in the second period culminated in a second caution, and therefore dismissal, for Nantwich centre back Rob McDonald, whose two yellow cards were earned for clattering into Foster. Chorley failed to make the numerical advantage pay, and in the end were grateful to another good stop from Saunders at the death to ensure that the three points were banked.
So the final whistle was greeted with some relief by players and supporters alike, and manager Garry Flitcroft will be happy with the three points and a clean sheet, particularly given the absence of several key players. Next week’s visit to Bradford P.A. and the New Year trip to Marine sees the Magpies face their closest play-off contenders, as the season reaches a critical phase, both on and off the pitch.
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Ally Brown, Andy Teague (capt), Wayne Maden, Dale Whitham, Adam Roscoe, Steve Flitcroft, Chris Denham, Steve Foster, Tom Williams.
Subs: Andy Russell, John Cunliffe (for Denham), Jordan Bowen (for Williams), Porya Ahmadi (for Foster), Dean Porter
Goal: STEVE FOSTER (37)
Man of the Match: Steve Foster – tormented the visitors’ defence all afternoon, and capped a great performance with a clinical winning goal.