Chorley will have to do it all again against FC Halifax Town in the replay of this fourth qualifying round tie at the Shay tomorrow evening after two uncompromising sides finished locked in goalless stalemate.
The ingredients were there for a memorable cup-tie – TV exposure in the build-up to the match, a huge and expectant crowd of 2,333 and the tantalising prospect of the Magpies upsetting a higher-ranking team – but the game itself failed to live up to the occasion and was surprisingly low-key with few goalmouth incidents, two well-organised defences stifling striking ambitions on both sides.
Chorley were up against a Halifax team big and strong in all departments and home hitman James Dean in particular was well-shackled by the Shaymen’s skipper Marc Roberts.
But the Magpies’ rearguard was equally effective with Andy Teague and Tom Smyth an impressive central-defence pair.
The visitors opened with great purpose and Kyle Jacobs scooped a dangerous ball out of the home goalmouth before the Magpies came close to bagging the lead.
A defender got in a vital block at close quarters as Josh Hine let fly and when the wide-man regained possession and centred, Dean flashed a header just past the back post. At the other end, Lois Maynard was only a foot too high with a venomous strike from the edge of the box. But these high-spots were not a sign of thrills to come, as an often physical contest was waged without end-product.
Chorley sought to be more adventurous after the break but despite greater possession were unable to test Halifax keeper Matty Glennon. The most heart-stopping moment for the visitors was a raking cross from Jacobs which Dean, sliding in, just failed to reach six yards from goal. Halifax built several promising raids down the flanks in the last quarter of the match but Nizic’s instinctive save low down at his near post from substitute Ross Dyer was the nearest they came.
In the end the draw was the right result. Flitcroft was full of praise for his players afterwards.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them – they were excellent. There was nothing between the teams,” he said.
AFC Fylde won through to the first round proper of the FA Cup for the second time in the club’s history thanks to a second half hat-trick from Richie Allen at The Walks.
In a game that was the epitome of a classic cup tie, Kings Lynn led 1-0 at half-time through George Thomson’s goal but within 16 minutes of the restart Fylde had turned it around to lead 3-1 with Allen’s first two either side of Michael Pott’s fifth goal of the season.
But a spirited home side did not give in and came back into the game through Thomson’s second mid-way through the half.
But Allen completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes to go to restore Fylde’s two goal cushion before the Linnets struck again through Stephen Spriggs to set up a tasty final five minutes where both Spriggs and Bradley Barnes were sent off.
This result means Fylde are into the hat – ball 50 – for the first round proper draw tonight and Dave Challinor will be looking to make amends for losing at the same stage two seasons ago against Accrington Stanley.
Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Southport face a replay tomorrow after drawing 1-1 at Tamworth.
The Sandgrounders went behind to the Conference North strugglers when Clarke slotted home a penalty after Joe Connor had brought down Hibbert in the area in the fourth minute.
The visitors had to wait until the 70th minute when Luke George scored the equaliser.
In the NPL First Division North, Bamber Bridge got the better of Kendal Town in a five-goal thriller at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Jordan Connerton gave the visitors an early lead, but Darren Green and Chris Mason put Brig in front with goals just before half-time.
Stuart Vasey added a third with 12 minutes to go and the home side hung on despite Keiron Pickup pulling a goal back late on.
Two goals from Aaron taylor and one from Tom Kilifin helped Lancaster City defeat Radcliffe Borough 3-1 at Giant Axe. Clitheroe beat Brighouse 4-2, but Burscough lost 3-0 at Darlington.