Chorley 2, Nuneaton 2

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson
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A pulsating second half kept a crowd of 1,306 enthralled as Chorley fought back magnificently after going two goals behind to a lively and enterprising Nuneaton side.

Now managed by ex-Southport boss Dino Maamria, the visitors looked anything but a team on the brink of the drop-zone and in the first half-hour posed the Chorley defence more problems than did League One Fleetwood in Monday’s FA Cup tie.

But the character of Matt Jansen’s men once more shone through in a barnstorming display which forced Nuneaton to defend as if for their lives to preserve a point. Two substitutions by Jansen proved crucial.

The first after half-an-hour brought much-needed stability to midfield, while the introduction of Matty Hughes early in the second half triggered an all-out bombardment on the visitors’ goal and the ex-Fylde star equalised with a stunning goal which really set the crowd alight.

Chorley should have scored in the first minute when Adam Blakeman’s deep cross to beyond the far post left Matt Challoner with an open goal but he could only find the side-net.

But it was soon Nuneaton asking the questions with some pacey raids and they took the lead on six minutes. A corner was not dealt with by the Magpies’ defence and the ball pinged around the goalmouth until Jordan Nicholson pounced to tuck it away.

At this stage Chorley were being opened up far too easily and might have shipped further goals but the change of formation brought greater control and Blakeman twice forced keeper Dean Lyness into smart saves from stinging low drives.

Yet it was the second half that brought the real excitement. Nuneaton shocked the home side with a second goal on 47 minutes, the dangerous Ashley Chambers, though looking offside, racing clear to stroke the ball past Matt Urwin.

Chorley however rallied strongly and pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute. Josh Wilson rose highest to meet a corner with a downward header which was adjudged to have crossed the goal-line despite heated Nuneaton protests. After that, it was largely one-way traffic, though the visitors remained a threat from isolated breakaways.

From one of these only a brilliant save by Urwin denied Chambers.

The trickery of Nick Haughton and Hughes became increasingly significant and the Nuneaton goal had several close shaves before in the 83rd minute Hughes delivered in style.

Neat approach play in midfield released him on the right and he wasted no time in haring for goal and leaving Lyness standing with an explosive finish. Chorley kept Nuneaton penned in and Jason Walker was unlucky to see a great shot on the turn rattle the bar.

However, the threat from Chambers remained and it took a stand-out double-save by Urwin from close range efforts in the dying minutes to keep the scores level.

This was superb entertainment and from the Chorley viewpoint a wonderful testament to the character of the team to shrug off that two-goals deficit in such stirring style.

CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Jordan (Walker 33), Haughton, O’Keefe, Carver (Jarvis 68), Wilson, Cottrell (Hughes 53). Unused subs. Anson, Black.