Monday January 2nd, 3pm
Chorley kicked-off 2012 with a victory over old foes Marine at a windswept, very bobbly and occasionally fiery Arriva Stadium.
Andy Teague and Dale Whitham joined Tom Walker and Tom Williams in the stands, all missing the game through injury, leaving Garry Flitcroft with a wafer-thin squad to choose from.
The opening exchanged saw both sides struggling to get to grips with the blustery condition as the wind howled in off the Mersey, and a pitch as poor as any seen this season. With neither side comfortable playing the ball either over the top or on the deck, flowing football was not the order of the day.
The opening chance of the game fell to Chris Denham and only the striker himself will understand how he didn’t manage to fire a shot at goal - with what seamed acres of space around him inside the area and a free shot at goal begging to be taken, he dallied on the ball and ended being tackled. Then from the resulting corner captain Wayne Maden headed narrowly wide.
On 20 minutes Chorley took the lead when following a right-wing free kick from Adam Roscoe, Tom Ince flicked the ball over home keeper Ryan McMahon into the net.
Five minutes after this goal the match nearly boiled over. As tackles flew in stronger and stronger it was only a matter of time before the referee had to intervien and Thomas Moore was red carded for the home side for landing a punch as tempers flared. Jamie Vermiglio received a yellow for the tackle the sparked the incident. Indeed Marine were lucky to have 10 men as Robbie Lawton also appeared to swing a punch while the officials were dealing with the original transgression!
A rash tackle on Steve Foster resulted in another card for the home side shortly after, this time a yellow for Joe Fowler.
With half time approaching and the sun finally dropping behind the terraced houses at the far end of the ground Chorley fans finally got a clear view of the game, only to see Ally Brown give away a penalty (he picked up a yellow card minutes later for another mistimed tackle) and Barbados international Neil Harvey converted to give 10-man Marine hope at the interval.
After the restart despite playing into the wind Chorley regained the lead when Chris Denham was dragged down in the box by Matt Brown (yellow carded) and ace striker Steve Foster dispatched the spot kick with ease for his 14th league goal of the season (16th in total), taking him to the top of the leagues goal scoring chart.
John Cunliffe replaced Ally Brown with 25 minutes remained, but will want to forget his first real involvement in the game. Between himself and the usually reliable Jamie Vermiglio, a short corner routine went somewhat off plan and Marine broke. With Maden and Andy Russell out of position the hosts levelled through ex-Magpies Aaron Rey.
With just over 20 minutes remaining and the wind at their backs you could see the obvious lift this goal gave to the home side, but less than four minutes remaining the contest was over.
First of all Mark Ross netted, no doubt with a little help from the elements from 40 yards. He took a free kick from in front of the dugouts, and no doubt give the ball a little extra welly to compensate for the wind. The ball looked to be sailing out of play then suddenly dropped out of the sky to most peoples surprise and went in off the back of keeper McMahon, to the amusement of the 200 or so travelling supporters to make it three-two!
A minute later it was four when Chris Denham raced onto a Foster through ball and hammered in a shot off the upright, to the delight of the supporters.
In the closing stages Foster picked up a customary yellow card, while Matt Walwyn on for Vermiglio for the last ten minutes kept the home defence pinned back with his pace.
All in all a very Happy New Year for the Magpies!
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Ally Brown, Andy Russell, Wayne Maden, Jamie Vermiglio, Adam Roscoe, Steve Flitcroft, Chris Denham, Steve Foster, Tom Ince.
Subs: John Cunliffe (Brown, 64), Matt Walwyn (Vermiglio, 82), Proya Ahmadi (Denham, 85), Jordan Bowen, Dean Porter
Goals: TOM INCE (20), Neil Harvey (42 PEN), STEVE FOSTER (53 PEN), Aaron Rey (68), MARK ROSS (71), CHRIS DENHAM (72)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Jamie Vermiglio, industrious as ever in the heart of midfield.