Maidenhead 4, Chorley 1: Magpies handed a harsh lesson in finishing

Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio
Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio

Concerning though it is that the Magpies have conceded 10 goals in the last two games, this was not the wholesale demolition that the bare scoreline suggests.

Maidenhead bagged two goals in added time to guarantee the three points at the end of a match which was for the most part in the balance, the hosts’ manager Alan Devonshire reckoning the game turned on a missed Chorley penalty early in the second half which would have made the score 2-2.

Courtney Meppen-Walter (left) in action against Maidenhead

Courtney Meppen-Walter (left) in action against Maidenhead

Maidenhead bagged two goals in added time to guarantee the three points at the end of a match which was for the most part in the balance, the hosts’ manager Alan Devonshire reckoning the game turned on a missed Chorley penalty early in the second half which would have made the score 2-2.

He added : "We were shattered after five games in two weeks but we were still clinical on the counter-attack and produced four good finishes."

Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio pulled no punches in his post-match assessment: "If we keep conceding goals like this, we are not going to last long in this league. Thanks to our sloppiness, Maidenhead haven’t had to work too hard for their goals. Overall, we played better today than in midweek and created opportunities – but they put theirs away and we didn’t."

Indeed Chorley registered no fewer than 16 attempts on goal compared to Maidenhead’s 13 but defensively they were a ‘soft touch’ at times here. The harsh truth is that the defensive solidity which has characterised the team’s rise through the leagues in recent seasons has for the moment disappeared and at this level the punishment for error is severe.

Chorley began brightly, dominating the opening twenty minutes during which Josh O’Keefe was off-target from a presentable heading opportunity and Marcus Carver shot straight at keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond from another clear chance.

The game exploded into life with two goals in as many minutes midway through the half. Josh Kelly, somewhat against the run of play, fired Maidenhead in front only for Marcus Carver to twist and turn in the box before squeezing his shot past Ashby-Hammond.

Billy Crellin, on loan from Fleetwood Town, marked his debut with a brilliant 34th minute save but when the ball was recycled into the box Matt Challoner conceded a penalty for a needless untidy challenge and Jake Cassidy sent Crellin the wrong way from the spot.

The same player later fired wildly over the bar with only Crellin to beat.

Playing down the slope after the interval, Chorley were soon into their stride, the luckless O’Keefe scooping his shot wastefully over the bar from Challoner’s inviting pass.

But on 53 minutes Alex Newby won a penalty only for the usually reliable Courtney Meppen-Walters to see his shot saved and then hit the post from the rebound. It was to prove a pivotal miss.

The hosts’ substitute Danny Whitehall made a telling contribution with two goals in the dying minutes. He dived to head home a wonderful cross to make it 3-1 and then with Chorley desperately pushing too many men forward took full advantage of a breakaway, racing unchallenged from halfway to round Crellin and slot in his side’s fourth goal.

CHORLEY : Crellin, Challoner, Blakeman (Baines,74), Teague, Leather (Massanka,65), Meppen-Walters, A. Newby, O’Keefe, Carver, E. Newby, Cottrell (Holroyd,77). Unused subs. Ross, Eccles.

Att. 1,172.