Chorley 0 Skelmersdale United 0
A stubborn defensive display by the Northern Premier League underdogs stifled Chorley’s attacking ambitions in a disappointingly low-key FA Trophy third qualifying round tie.
The match only really came to life for a spell in the second half, when the Magpies finally threatened to break down a well-organised Skelmersdale defence and were unlucky not to find a winning goal.
The visitors often moved the ball smartly and accurately on a saturated surface but lacked a cutting edge up front, and home keeper Sam Ashton did not have to make a serious save.
The Magpies, in contrast, created the chances when upping the tempo in the second half but earlier were too often guilty of laboured approach work and ponderous distribution in their own half.
In a largely featureless opening period, James Dean missed the best chance, shooting wide of the near post from Darren Stephenson’s neat cut-back.
After the break, United keeper Martin Fearon pulled off a terrific diving save to tip aside Andy Bond’s cracking low drive.
But he had no chance of saving low cross-shots from substitute Sam Cosgrove and Dean which passed just outside the far post.
Cosgrove, on loan from Wigan Athletic, showed awareness and sharpness which could prove valuable in the coming games.
Dean was unlucky to see a well-struck goal-bound shot rebound off a colleague in the penalty area and then, following a scramble in the six-yard box, came closest to winning the match with a venomous strike which cannoned out off a post.
Despite finishing strongly, Skelmersdale completed the second half without firing a shot on target but will feel it was a job well done to earn a replay on Tuesday evening.
“We dominated the game,” said Magpies manager Matt Jansen.
“But they parked the bus and we weren’t able to break them down, though not for the want of trying.
“I was delighted with a clean sheet and we’ll go again on Tuesday with confidence that we will get the right result.”
CHORLEY : Ashton, Ross, Lynch (Whitham,74), Teague, Charnock, Cottrell, Jarvis, Guy (Cosgrove,54), Dean, Bond, Stephenson. Unused subs. Roscoe, Rittenberg, Rigby.