Chorley’s final match of what has been a memorable year brought disappointment after Kendal’s dynamic first half performance saw the Cumbrians take a deserved 3-0 lead into the break, and despite a spirited comeback from the Magpies, the visitors did enough to ensure they took the three points back up the M6.
In front of a four figure attendance (one of numerous bumper crowds in the division today) Chorley paid the price for a terrible first half, in which Kendal looked more composed, more organised and more dangerous in the final third of the pitch.
The home team had the first sight of goal on seven minutes, but Dale Whitham’s powerful volley narrowly missed the target following a Tom Ince corner. Soon afterwards, fine work from Ciaran Donnelly down the Kendal right came close to opening up the Chorley defence, but the midfielder’s tantalising cross eluded his onrushing team mates.
A quickly taken free kick near the halfway line led to Kendal’s opening goal on eighteen minutes, as the ball was worked down the left and into the path of Danny Wisdom, who made no mistake from near the penalty spot. Jordan Connerton then blazed over from a good position, but, ten minutes after opening the scoring, Kendal were gifted a second goal when Ally Brown needlessly conceded a corner, from which
Shaun Gray powered in an unstoppable drive.
Before half time, it was 3-0, as the Chorley defence opened up completely, and Wisdom’s scuffed shot had just enough pace to beat a despairing lunge on the goalline from Mark Ross. It could have been even worse for Chorley, as Ashley Dunn’s header came within a whisker of making it four just before half time. The break arrived with little Christmas cheer in the air other than amongst the joyful travelling supporters.
So the Magpies began the second half in search of a Christmas miracle, yet it was only when John Cunliffe replaced the ineffective Matt Walwyn that their attacks began to carry any threat. A delightful through ball from the substitute saw Steve Foster race beyond the Kendal defence and expertly guide the ball home just before the hour mark. Adam Roscoe then came within inches of scoring but his well struck free kick went agonisingly wide.
Cunliffe was involved again in a great team goal which was finished by Whitham, who turned in Roscoe’s pull back from close range. With twenty minutes left on the clock, Chorley sensed they had sufficient time to grab an equaliser, but were hampered by the withdrawal of Whitham, who was injured as he scored. Some nice touches from his replacement, Ahmadi Porya, came close to opening up Kendal in the dying minutes, but in truth Chorley did not really threaten the visiting keeper, despite a generous amount of injury time being added.
With close rivals Marine and FC United picking up victories, Chorley’s place in the play off positions is under real threat, and a good result is needed next Monday when the Magpies travel to Marine. But all fans of Chorley must be extremely proud of what Garry Flitcroft and the squad have achieved in 2011, and here’s hoping that 2012 will be even better. Happy New Year!
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Ally Brown, Andy Teague (capt), Wayne Maden, Dale Whitham, Adam Roscoe, Steve Flitcroft, Matt Walwyn, Steve Foster, Tom Ince
Substitutes: Andy Russell (for Ross), Jamie Vermiglio, Ahmadi Porya (for Whitham), Jordan Bowen, John Cunliffe (for Walwyn)
Goals: Danny Wisdom (18), Shaun Gray (28), Mark Ross (38 OG), STEVE FOSTER (57), DALE WITHAM (69)
MotM: John Cunliffe – sparked a jaded Magpies side into life.