Magpies’ lead is cut at the top

Garry Flitcroft
Garry Flitcroft
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Grantham Town 1 Chorley 1

Title-chasing Chorley saw their five-point lead at the top of the NPL Premier Division trimmed to three after they were held to a draw by lowly Grantham Town.

In a poor game played on a bumpy surface in blustery conditions, the Magpies were denied by inspired goalkeeping by man-of-the-match Danny Haystead.

He pulled off at least three stunning saves to keep the hosts in the game.

In the end, Chorley were rescued by late substitute Adam Mather whose far-post header from a great Paul Jarvis cross, looped beyond Haystead three minutes from time to cancel out Gingerbreads’ leading scorer Greg Smith’s goal on 62 minutes.

This came immediately following a Chorley 
attack when the home side broke quickly and the 
big striker headed a bouncing ball beyond Sam Ashton, who was caught in no-man’s 
land as he rushed out in a bid to deal with a long punt forward.

In a drab first half, the Magpies were guilty of over-reliance on the long ball and they created few clear openings.

The best of these was a Chris Almond header which flew straight at Haystead, then a wasted chance by Dale Whitham who headed over from six yards.

With target-man James Dean for the most part well-shackled by the uncompromising Grantham centre-backs, the 
Magpies’ cutting-edge was blunted.

It was only after Grantham had scored that Chorley effectively raised their game and they were twice unlucky in a packed goalmouth when Andy Teague had a header cleared off the line and when another effort from Jarvis was smuggled to safety by Halstead.

The keeper really stole the limelight with a 
brilliant athletic save to turn over Whitham’s goal-bound effort following a Jarvis corner.

Not too disappointed with what he described as ‘a hard-won point’, manager Garry Flitcroft said: “I had my hands up three times, thinking we’d scored, but it just wouldn’t go in for us.”

CHORLEY: Ashton, Ross, Jarvis, Teague, O’Brien, Cottrell (Roscoe 65), Dorney (Mather 79), Woolcott, Dean, Whitham, Almond. Subs (not used): Stephenson, Vermiglio, Grundy

Attendance: 260