Gloucester City 1 Chorley 1: Playing on pays off with point for Magpies

For the second Saturday running Chorley featured in the ONLY National League North match to be played.

By Mike Neild
Sunday, 14th February 2021, 9:23 am
Updated Sunday, 14th February 2021, 11:56 am

And they were good value for their point against league leaders Gloucester City.

In fact it was a game the Magpies might have won but for an outstanding display by the home side’s nominated man of the match, keeper Rhys Lovett, who kept his team on level terms when Chorley clearly got on top in the second half.

“Chorley came on strong and we had to dig in and put bodies on the line,” said City boss Paul Groves, who felt that the Magpies’ extra match- sharpness took its toll, with the Tigers having been side-ined in recent weeks.

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Elliot Newby celebrates after his goal (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

Magpies manager Jamie Vermiglio said: “Not for the first time this season our display merited more than we got from the game.

“We moved the ball quickly and well and looked a threat whenever we went forward.’

Gloucester were the livelier in the first half and went ahead after 26 minutes through a debut goal from Gold Omotayo, who beat Matt Urwin with a glancing header from a free-kick.

Chorley created clear scoring chances themselves.

Jon Ustabasi’s point blank-range header was brilliantly saved by Lovett, and then superb build-up play by Newby and Ustabasi set up Arlen Birch but from 10 yards he skied his shot high over the bar.

The Magpies raised the tempo after the break and put the home defence under considerable pressure.

The hard-working Harry Cardwell crossed to Ustabasi whose effort produced a great reflex save from Lovett, the keeper then saving well from an Andy Halls’ header following a corner and later holding a well-struck shot from Cardwell.

City were dangerous on the break and there was a scare for Chorley when Urwin saved from Kevin Dawson, but then had to rely on Halls’ clearance off the line from the same player.

The Magpies’ deserved equaliser finally arrived in the 73rd minute.

Elliot Newby ghosted past defenders before curling a delightful shot beyond the diving Lovett’s fingertips, his second stylish finish in successive games.

The point was enough to lift Chorley into seventh, the final play-offs’ slot in the table but major uncertainty clouds the horizon in the league.

Chorley and Gloucester have both played more games (18) than any other club, five or six more in some cases, and the reluctance of several clubs to continue playing is causing the National League a growing problem as to the completion of the season.

Ahead of next Saturday’s scheduled home game against York City, Vermiglio said: “It’s hard to know what’s happening but everyone at Chorley Football Club believes there’s an integrity about continuing to play on, the players are all committed to continue playing and we will prepare for the next game as we always do.

“Despite what’s happening at other clubs, we’ve turned up here today, rolled our sleeves up and put in a phenomenal performance and one to be proud of.”

CHORLEY: Urwin, Birch, Smith (Hall 83), Halls, Leather (Garrity 31), Baines, Cardwell, Newby, Tomlinson, Shenton, Ustabasi (Miller 83). Subs (not used): Calveley, Owens.