This defeat at Chorley today continued the Harriers poor away form of late with the Reds winless run going back to Christmas when we drew 0-0 against Worcester City. Before today the last time we actually scored away from Aggborough was way back at the beginning of December when we won 3-1 on the road at Bradford so at least todays consolation goal from Andre Brown was something to be pleased about.
On arrival at the ground it was bemusing to see the way the sparsely grassed pitch sloped in all directions and it was obviously going to be a big ask for our team of ball players to create anything attractive on this pitch. But at the end of the day this is the kind of surface that we have to face and in winter all the moreso.
With an unchanged side from the one that beat Curzon last Saturday the only change came on the bench with Mani Dieseruvwe missing out through injury along with Zaine Francis-Angol. It was good to see goalkeeper Sam Hornby out warming up though but he might find it hard to dislodge Alex Palmer from between the sticks now.
With Chorley well up for this play-offs clash the game kicked off with an early chance for the Reds to take an early lead. We were awarded a free kick in the second minute that was taken by James McQuilkin and that typical Quilks kick forced the keeper to scramble across his goal as it narrowly went wide. We continued to press but controlling the ball on the poor pitch was very hard.
Chorley weren't being outplayed and we weren't having it all our way. In the seventh minute they took the early lead and didn't look back when defensive hesitancy allowed Jack Sampson plenty of time to loft the ball over the heads of Tyrone Williams, Keith Lowe and Alex Palmer and into the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
We responded as we usually do by going straight back out and trying to draw level as soon as we could but the Chorley defence stood firm and didn't give us a clear sight of goal. Maybe we could have got around that by playing a more forceful striker up front than Andre Brown but that was all we had. Our play was crying out for someone to make a strong run in on the keeper but we would rather pussy foot it outside the area and hope to spot a narrow gap to score through.
For the remainder of the half we saw most of the ball and Jordan Tunnicliffe came close when his header from a McQuilkin cross went just the wrong side of the upright. Later on there was a chance for Tyrone Williams that went over the bar and in-between the Magpies captain, Dale Whitham, volleyed a shot just over Palmers bar.