Chorley 2 Hednesford 2
Four second-half goals went some way to sparking into life a scrappy National League North game which for more an hour had done little to excite another very good Victory Park crowd of 1,057.
Manager Matt Jansen’s post-match analysis pointed to a Magpies’ performance which was ‘too flat and too quiet’ and it took a Hednesford goal on 63 minutes to get Chorley at last on the front foot.
Thereafter, the home side had one hand on the three points after netting two in three minutes, only to surrender the hard-won lead to a set-piece with five minutes to play.
“We defended too deep for the free-kick and didn’t organise properly and it’s cost us,” said Jansen.
After a largely featureless first half-hour, Chorley were close to the opening goal when James Dean’s firm header from an inviting Andy Bond cross flashed just past the near post.
Then the visitors’ goal somehow survived a barrage of successive shots which were either blocked in the jaws of the goal or deflected to safety.
Hednesford started the second half much the more positively and were rewarded on 63 minutes, Adam Todd converting a left-wing centre at close range, despite Sam Ashton’s efforts to palm the ball to safety. An immediate change to the Magpies’ formation, and the introduction of Marcus Carver, gave Chorley the impetus to take charge.
And the equaliser in the 79th minute was well-deserved.
Keeper Lloyd Ransome collided with a defensive colleague as he came out to claim a long punt from Ashton and Carver gleefully swept the resultant loose ball into the empty net.
The goal of the game soon followed. Darren Stephenson’s wizardry on the left and floated cross from the by-line set up Josh Hine for an emphatic header from three yards’ range.
But when the referee deemed a touchline challenge by Bond warranted a free-kick, the searching delivery into the box was met by full-back Kennedy Digie with a thumping close-range header.
In the context of the full 90 minutes, Hednesford were worth their point.
CHORLEY : Ashton, Ross, Jarvis, Teague, Charnock (Doyle 55), Cottrell, Hine, Winter (Carver 66), Dean, Bond, Stephenson. Subs (not used): Guy, Lynch, Dodd