Chorley’s return to the National League against Bromley bow fails to get pulses racing

Lewis Baines stood out in the Magpies' defence
Lewis Baines stood out in the Magpies' defence

Chorley 0 Bromley 0

It was a very low-key return to non-league’s top table for the Magpies.

There was none of the sparkle of the promotion-winning celebration in May in this largely featureless National League season curtain-raiser.

As Bromley manager Neil Smith said afterwards: “Neither side wanted to lose this first match and they effectively cancelled each other out.”

There was a very cagey start to the game, and opening exchanges were scrappy until Bromley keeper Mark Cousins had to race from his goal to close down Chris Holroyd in the act of shooting.

At the other end, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild curled a low shot narrowly wide from a smart free-kick routine.

But as the interval approached it was Chorley who almost broke the deadlock. The tricky Alex Newby worked an opening and fired a terrific shot inches over the bar.

That was essentially as good as it got for a healthy Victory Park crowd of 1,469.

Although the Magpies grew stronger as the game entered its final quarter, given sustained vocal support by their fans behind the Pilling Lane end goal, they could not break down a resilient Bromley defence every bit as unyielding as Chorley’s own, in which Lewis Baines was outstanding.

The introduction of substitute N’Tumba Massanka injected much-needed pace and mobility into the Chorley attack but – as with Bromley’s raids – the vital creative spark to deliver a winning goal was missing.

A neat Chorley build-up culminated in Elliot Newby shooting high over the bar and in the closing moments Cousins got down quickly at the near post to clutch a dangerous low ball in from the Magpies’ right wing.

Manager Jamie Vermiglio took the positives from his side’s first point of the campaign.

“It was a well-contested game and I think the draw was a fair result,” he said.

“We’ve ventured into the unknown today and we knew it wouldn’t be easy.

“We have held our own and more than matched an attack-minded Bromley team. We were very solid and I’m particularly pleased that Bromley haven’t had any meaningful shots on goal throughout the match.”

CHORLEY: Anyon, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Baines, A.Newby, O’Keefe, Carver, Holroyd (N’Tumba Massanka 67), E. Newby. Subs (not used): Cottrell, Ross, Dodds, Meppen-Walters.