Chorley secure play-off berth with bank holiday Monday draw

Gateshead grabbed the point they needed to win the National League North title but they were made to work to the maximum by a resilient Chorley side who are themselves guaranteed a place in the play-offs with a 2-2 draw at Victory Park.

By Mike Neild
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 9:51 am

In a tremendous game of total commitment by both teams, the Magpies, on the front foot from the start, had the better of the first half and deserved their one-goal interval lead.

But the Tynesiders quickly levelled after the break and turned up the power to take the lead, though Chorley will be disappointed to have conceded twice from corners.

It took a Willem Tomlinson special to bring the scores level late on and give the Magpies a share of the spoils.

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Chorley strikers Jacob Blyth (left) and Connor Hall put the Gateshead goalkeeper under pressure (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

In front of an expectant and lively crowd of 1,811, Chorley’s aggressive start was rewarded after 28 minutes when tricky footwork by the outstanding Billy Whitehouse on the right enabled him to deliver a trademark hanging centre which Jacob Blyth converted with a towering header at the far post.

Gateshead’s keeper was almost caught out by a long punt from his opposite number Matt Urwin which caught him off his line, bounced over him and to his relief passed just the wrong side of the post.

Although forced to defend watchfully, the visitors were always a threat on the break and Urwin preserved the Magpies’ lead just before half-time when he spread himself at the near post to deny Macaulay Langstaff as he cut in from the left and looked sure to score.

Gateshead delighted their large contingent of supporters massed behind the goal by equalising on 49 minutes when Carl Magnay was given too much room and looped a header from a corner beyond Urwin’s grasp.

The visitors began to turn the screw and the home defence was at full stretch to contain a series of fast-paced raids.

Adam Henley got in a brilliantly-timed tackle to stop Dan Ward from applying a straightforward finish after Langstaff had broken clean through, but a second Gateshead goal duly arrived from another corner in the 67th minute, Ward bundling a low cross into the net at the back post.

The champions-elect appeared to have the game in safe keeping at this stage before Chorley equalised out of the blue with 12 minutes to play.

Lewis Baines teed up Tomlinson who rifled a 20-yard dipping shot past Marshall.

The goal reignited the Magpies’ confidence and the pendulum swung in their favour with Gateshead now having to defend in numbers to see out the game.

They successfully did so and the final whistle prompted a joyful pitch invasion by their delirious fans. But the Magpies can take great credit from a stirring performance which saw them unbeaten in taking four points from the champions.

CHORLEY: Urwin, Halls, Leather, Baines, Henley, Whitehouse, Tomlinson, Calveley, Alli (Bright 83), Blyth (Holmes 71), Hall. Subs (not used): Shenton, Carroll, Spencer-McDermott.