Chorley emerged from a full-blooded contest with a well-deserved Conference North point from a 0-0 draw at Boston United.
Garry Flitcroft and his battling Magpies had a point to prove after succumbing to Boston at Victory Park last Saturday and they did so here in a rousing set-to which, despite the absence of goals, provided gripping entertainment.
An end-to-end game could have gone either way and if the home side had the greater number of chances, they were matched by a stout visiting defence which gave nothing away.
The intensity of the play reached fever-pitch seven minutes from time when Magpies’ midfielder Harry Winter’s fully committed tackle led to a melee and earned him a straight red card – his third of the season.
But his manager defended Winter post-match. Flitcroft said: “It wasn’t a dirty challenge – he won the ball. I’m gutted for him.”
Chorley almost snatched an early lead when a back-pass put Boston keeper Joel Dixon in trouble and after he failed to gather Darren Stephenson’s effort was kicked off the line.
The Pilgrims, however, were causing problems at the other end. Dayle Southwell saw a drive deflected over and then landed a header on the roof of the Chorley net.
There was a close call for Chorley when Mark Jones rattled the bar and Southwell’s header was superbly saved by Aaron Grundy. As the Magpies hit back, Stephenson had a shot charged down and Josh Hine wriggled his way clear on goal but was pressured into poking his shot wide.
Fog closed in on the ground for the second half and it appeared that Scott Garner three times went close for Boston, before Hine forced Dixon to pull off a good save from his angled drive, the loose ball being hacked to safety.
Chorley continued to probe and looked all set to grab the lead through Chris Simm, only for Liam Marrs to rescue Boston with a goalline clearance.
Even Winter’s late dismissal failed to unhinge the visitors’ resolute defensive work.
“We showed what a good side we are today,” said Flitcroft. “I felt we dominated Boston in the second half and even deserved to win the game.”
Elsewhere, AFC Fylde came away from North Ferriby with a well earned point in a 1-1 draw. Liam Tomsett gave The Coasters the lead, only for Nathan Jarman to level three minutes later.