Chorley 1 Gloucester City 2: Little to cheer as Magpies undone by free-kick
A brilliantly-executed free-kick midway through the second half decided this dour, physical National League North battle in the visitors’ favour.
Big-spending Gloucester proved just too tough a nut to crack for the Magpies who lost the opening rounds to lively-starting opponents but showed plenty of fighting spirit to level the match early in the second half, only to be undone by a supreme piece of skill.
City began on the front foot, while Chorley were comparatively slow to hit their stride.
And the Tigers went in front on 11 minutes when Matt McClure took advantage of slow reactions in the home defence to crack a terrific drive past Matt Urwin from some 15 yards.
Urwin did well to hang onto the crossbar to turn over a very awkward cross-cum-shot before Gloucester had a real let-off.
A slick Chorley move down the left culminated in a raking low centre which the lunging City centre-back Liam Daly at full stretch diverted onto the underside of the bar, the ball being scrambled clear.
After the break Chorley resumed with real purpose and Elliot Newby was at the centre of a fine 15-minute spell for the Magpies.
First, he was given an opening on the right but with a clear sight of goal skewed his shot high and wide. He was soon to do better.
On 52 minutes, Harry Cardwell made a surging run down the left wing before pulling back an inviting pass from the by-line which Newby confidently dispatched. Moments later Newby was put through on goal and keeper Rhys Lovett did exceptionally well to race from his line and snatch the ball at the feet of Newby without conceding a penalty.
It was against the run of play when, in the 66th minute, City’s Josh Thomas embarked on a penetrating run past three defenders only to be brought down by a fourth challenge.
Up stepped Gavin Gunning to curl a superb free-kick from 25 yards into the top corner of the net past the flailing arms of Urwin.
The quality of the strike galvanised Gloucester into seeing the game out, which they did through uncompromising and solid defending, rarely permitting the Magpies a clear sight of goal.
The nearest Chorley came to a second equaliser was a side-footed finish by Cardwell which crept the wrong side of the post.
CHORLEY: Urwin, Halls (Rodwell-Grant 89), Leather, Smith (Birch 57), Baines, Walker, Calveley, Shenton, Cardwell (Garratt 82), Reilly, Newby. Subs (not used): McKenzie, Baxter.