Nuneaton 2, Chorley 2

Jake Cottrell hit the crossbar

Jake Cottrell hit the crossbar

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A spirited Chorley performance gave league leaders Nuneaton a real fright and it would not have flattered the industrious Magpies if they had pocketed all three points.

A spirited Chorley performance gave National League leaders Nuneaton a real fright and it would not have flattered the industrious Magpies if they had pocketed all three points.

The hosts twice had to come from behind and were indebted to high-profile summer-signing Aaron Williams for the two goals which salvaged a point.

Both sides were seeking to end a winless run but if Jake Cottrell’s swirling shot when Chorley were 2-1 up in the second half had not hit the bar it would have been Matt Jansen’s men celebrating Christmas early.

Andy Teague gave the Magpies a confidence-boosting start after eight minutes, meeting a corner at the far post with a header which eluded keeper Jordan Smith and crept over the line. But Nuneaton hit back within two minutes when Williams met Callum Chettle’s free-kick with a free back-post header.

And Sam Ashton then had to be alert to prevent Williams profiting from a breakdown in communication between Teague and Adam Roscoe, the keeper rushing out to grab the ball.

Chorley regained the lead in the 31st minute with a strike of supreme quality, Darren Stephenson firing a rocket past Smith from a tight angle.

The visitors could, and perhaps should, have extended their advantage as Dale Whitham met a Stephenson cross but his first-time shot cleared the bar.

Good value for their interval lead, Chorley were very close to establishing a two-goal cushion on 54 minutes when Cottrell’s curling drive struck the bar.

They defended stoutly enough and looked a much more solid unit than of late but with eleven minutes to go the opportunist Williams rescued Nuneaton with a predatory strike, shooting low into the corner of the net.

Manager Matt Jansen was well satisfied with his team’s display.

“We were well worth our point if not more, but it’s heartening to take on the league leaders away from home and put in such a solid performance. We can take huge positives from this game."

CHORLEY : Ashton, Ross, Cartwright, Teague, Roscoe, Cottrell, Hine (Guy,87), Whitham, Dean (Jarvis,75), Bond, Stephenson. Unused subs. Charnock, Cosgrove, Lynch.