Chorley 1 Brackley Town 1
Chorley extended their unbeaten run to five matches after a thunderbolt from Jake Cottrell helped to secure a National League North point against fellow promotion contenders Brackley Town.
The midfield dynamo conjured up an early goal of the season contender when his eighth minute strike nearly burst the net.
But Matt Jansen’s high-flying Magpies then had their wings clipped when James Armson levelled.
Only ‘goals scored’ separated these two sides in the table before kick-off and there was nothing to separate them at the endr.
Keen to secure a fourth straight home win, the Magpies made a vibrant start and they were rewarded with a goal of real quality in the eighth minute.
Cutting in from the right, wing-back Matt Challoner glided past two defenders before laying the ball off to Cottrell 20 yards out and the midfielder hammered a stunning first-time shot past keeper Laurie Walker.
Chorley had chances to extend their lead, the best of which fell to striker Marcus Carver who was only denied by a last-ditch block.
But it was far from one-way traffic and Brackley wing-back Ellis Myles began to pose serious questions of the home defence with some surging runs down the right flank.
It was no surprise that Myles had a hand in Brackley’s equaliser in the 43rd minute. With home defender Stephen Jordan struggling with a calf injury, Chorley suddenly found themselves light at the back as Myles embarked on another dangerous run.
The wing-back delivered a low cross, which was only half cleared to Armson, who instinctively buried a low shot past keeper Sam Ashton from the edge of the box.
Both sides had chances to win the game in an end-to-end second half.
Chorley strikers Jason Walker and Sefton Gonzales both struck the same post with bullet headers.
In between those efforts, Armson nearly snatched a winner for the visitors but his fierce drive was brilliantly tipped aside by Ashton.
Reflecting on another hard-earned point and Cottrell’s magnificent goal, Magpies manager Matt Jansen said: “It was a great strike. Usually he leans back a bit and they fly over the bar.
“It was another fantastic performance and we were unlucky not to take all three points in the end.”