Poor run goes on for Flitcroft’s Magpies

Brig goalscorer Greg Johnstone
Brig goalscorer Greg Johnstone
Share this article
Have your say

The Magpies’ barren run goes on, stretching now to six games without a win as they were beaten 1-0 by Ilkeston.

The in-form home team, in contrast, have collected 13 points from their last six games and on chances created they could have won this one much more comfortably.

Wayward shooting, even at close range, allied to some fine saves by Jack Cudworth kept the margin to one goal and Chorley might easily have snatched a point in stoppage time but for a smart diving save by home keeper Chris Martin – his only serious test of the second half. Returning striker Darren Stephenson had a quiet game, being very closely marked, but Chorley again lacked real midfield creativity, despite competing strongly in a lively encounter.

However, Ilkeston’s swift counter-attacks generally carried the greater threat and the ever-dangerous Aaron Hooton on another day might have been taking home the matchball.

Hooton headed a left-wing cross narrowly over the bar in the opening minutes before Tom Ince fired just wide following fine approach play by the Magpies.

Then Cudworth pulled off a remarkable double-save from Hooton and later Andy Russell was crucially on hand to hook the ball to safety with Hooton closing in after Cudworth had saved at full stretch.

The keeper also saved a point-blank Hooton header as Chorley hung on, although the visitors engineered a couple of dangerous raids themselves, one of which Dale Whitham wasted by shooting from a narrow angle with both Stephenson and Adam Roscoe better-placed in front of goal.

Chorley lost skipper Andy Teague to injury soon after the break and Ilkeston took their cue to pile on the pressure.

Russell again rescued the Magpies with a goal-line clearance before the home side finally went ahead, if somewhat fortuitously, after 72 minutes.

Cudworth left his line to punch clear but planted the ball straight on the head of the incoming Ryan Wilson, whose header looped back over the stranded keeper and dipped just under the bar.

Ilkeston wasted two more clear shooting chances from close range late on before Chorley’s last-gasp chance to equalise saw John Cunliffe cleverly work himself an opening in the 96th minute only for Martin to get down quickly by the post to keep out his well-struck shot.

Elsewhere in the NPL Premier Division, AFC Fylde’s scheduled encounter away at Whitby Town was postponed, as was Kendal Town’s home match against Eastwood Town.

Bamber Bridge suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Warrington Town away.

It all started so promising for Neil Crowe’s men when Greg Johnstone gave them an 11th minute lead.

However, former Chorley striker Ciaran Kilheeney levelled matters three minutes later and the home side went in front soo after courtesy of John Miles.

For the rest of the match both sides attacked, but the all-important fourth goal of the match did not arrive until six minutes from time and it went to the home side.

Miles confident slotting home to win the match for his side.

Lancaster City found themselves on the wrong end of a similar scoreline at home to NPL First Division North form side Skelmersdale United at Giant Axe.

Gary Burnett, in the 10th and 48th minutes, put the visitors 2-0 up, but Benjamin Hudson gave the Dolly Blues some hope when he pulled a goal back in the 74th minute.

As the home side piled forward in search of an equaliser, Skem hit them on the counter and made the game safe four minutes from time through Kenneth Strickland.

Burscough enjoyed a thumping 5-1 over Farley at Victoria Park.

They went ahead on 16 minutes as Jordan Williams smashed home from the left hand side.

And hey doubled their lead on 33 minutes as Farsley keeper Higginson spilled the ball to Cummins who tapped into an empty net. It was three on 40 minutes when Jones smashed in a volley from six yards.

The visitors were given an opportunity from the penalty spot when Liam Duff brought down Priestley but Walton’s kick was denied by a fabulous Horn save. Cummins scored Burscough’s fourth on half-time when he stabbed home his second of the game.

Farsley threatened to stage a comeback after the restart when Burscough’s defence were slow to react and Priestley prodded in to make it 4-1.

But Burscough netted their fifth on 82 minutes when Jones slid in a composed finish outside the area.

High-flying Clitheroe were handed a reality check when they were well beaten away at Harrogate Railway Athletic 4-2.

Liam Hardy and Jonathan Maloney gave the home side the lead in the first half but Danny Mahoney (60) and Christopher Mason (77) levelled matters for the Blues.

Hardy restored Harrogate’s lead three minutes later and then completed his hat-trick in the last minute to seal the victory.