“We go again” is what Garry Flitcroft said to his players after they battled toe to toe with FC Halifax Town in today’s FA Cup 4th qualifying round tie at The Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium.
The Shaymen, currently in second place in in the Vanarama Conference, will now know that Tuesday nights replay will not be a formality after Chorley gave as good as they took for 90 minutes. Both sides will also have the added pressure in the replay of knowing who and where they’ll play if they are the victors; it could be anyone from Bristol City, Plymouth Argyle or Portsmouth to Blyth Spartans, Warrington Town or East Thurrock United or any of many other sides in-between!
Following a nightmare training session on Thursday evening when keeper Sam Ashton and striker Darren Stephenson were both ruled out through injury Flitcroft recruited Burnley’s Australian under 20’s keeper Danijel Nizic on a month’s loan and recalled Paul Jarvis to the starting line-up for the first time since late August while Harry Winter started in place of the suspended Dale Whitham.
The Shaymen started the game the stronger and went close to scoring on ten minutes when Kyle Jacobs cleared a Lois Maynard effort off the line, and immediately on the counter Chorley notched their first attack with ex-Halifax due James Dean and Harry Winter combined to release Josh Hine. The pacey wide man’s initial effort was blocked, but he then whipped in a cross to Dean who headed wide.
Tom Smyth was cautioned on twenty minutes from bringing Maynard down 20 yards out and the ensuing free was wasted.
Maynard drove over from an acute angle, then at the other end Adam Mather drilled a ball into the box, but saw it cleared off the six-yard line, then Winter jinked past two defenders but their third mopped up the danger.
Andy Teague, Smyth and Nizic where outstanding at the back, dealing with everything thrown at them, keeping the Conference’s second most potent front line at bay.
The game restarted quietly after the interval with ex-Magpie Steve Williams picking up a yellow card for a crunching challenge on Hine on 58 minutes the first action of note.
Williams then tipped Winter and from the resulting free-kick Chorley gained a corner, and soon after Williams was substituted before the referee could be put in a position to request his departure!
Jacobs angled a ball into the box, but Dean couldn’t connect and the score line stayed blank.
Astley Mullholland replaced Jarvis on 68 minutes.
Ross Dyer, on for Williams, went close for the visitors, but the big 19 year-old Australian/Croat in the Chorley goal pulled off a superb save to turn the ball round the post.
With the final whistle drawing ever closer, Halifax made changes to try and force a win but couldn’t find a way through, while Chris Almond and Jake Cottrell both made camoe appearances on their returns from injury – a good sign ahead of Tuesday night’s replay at The Shay.
Starting XI: Danijel Nizic, Kyle Jacobs, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Harry Winter, James Dean, Jack Dorney, Paul Jarvis
Subs: Jack Lynch, Astley Mulholland (Jarvis, 68), Chris Simm, Chris Almond (87), Jake Cottrell (89), Aaron Grundy
Att: 2,333 (including 487 away supporters)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Andy Teague, must have needed a paracetamol after the game he won that many headers!