Chorley 1 Scarborough Athletic 0: Popoola on target in FA Trophy victory
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But one early second-half goal proved enough as they kept a clean-sheet at Victory Park for the third time in eight days.
Scoring chances were few in an often scrappy game but it was Chorley’s redoubtable defensive screen that was responsible for nullifying Boro’s lively counter-attacking style.
After the home side had gone ahead on 53 minutes, Boro’ fought tooth and nail to draw level. They pumped crosses into the box from both flanks but the Magpies’ back division, ably marshalled by the imperious Mark Ellis, who never missed a header, dealt with every threat.
So well-protected was Matt Urwin in the home goal that, apart from one good near-post save in the first half, he was rarely tested.
After a quiet first half, the game sprang to life when Josh Popoola put Chorley ahead.
A corner was played back to him, lurking just outside the penalty area, and his low drive squirmed beyond keeper Ryan Whitley.
Although Boro’ promptly raised their game, they could not make the breakthrough and in the later stages the clearer scoring opportunities came Chorley’s way.
Whitley distinguished himself with a brilliant save from Jack Hazlehurst’s low drive and then a great chance went begging. With a sublime diagonal pass Joe Nolan picked out Billy Whitehouse – so precise with his finishing in Tuesday’s goal-fest – but here he dragged his shot disappointingly wide.
Then in the last minute it was almost 2-0, David Moyo desperately unlucky to see his spectacular attempt to convert Popoola’s cross rattle the crossbar.
Andy Preece had gambled by resting five of the players prominent in the 8-0 midweek demolition of Darlington but he was delighted by the work-rate of those who stepped into the team.
He said: “We made some changes but were still strong. It’s all about getting through to the next round and we did that in a tough game in difficult conditions.” CHORLEY: Urwin, Henley, Ellis, Wilson (Moore 70), Smith, Calveley (Nolan 46), Shenton, Ubaezuonu, Moyo, Hazlehurst (Whitehouse 82), Popoola. Unused subs. Sampson, Johnson, Drench, Doumbouya.