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Chorley FC 2gifHarriers 1

Date: 18-02-17 gif Venue: Victory Park gif att: 1242 gif away fans: 100 est
Harriers are poorly at Chorley

gif Report: Phil Lench
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.
  HT: 1 - 0
Our stay of execution in the second half was to be shorter than the seven minutes of the first goal.  Just four minutes in and the host scored their second goal of the game.

Another defensive mix up this time had a calamitous ending when an interchange of passes between Palmer and Ryan Croasdale went terribly wrong.  First the ball was played back to Palmer then he played it back to Croasdale who became the victim of the poor surface taking the ball away from him and Chorleys Jake Cottrell lurking too closely.  Ryan lost the ball and Cottrell had the easy task of slotting the ball past the stranded Palmer.

We quickly bought on Tyrell Waite and Liam Truslove in an effort to get something out of the game but the fans thinking was that Sam Austin rather than Waite would have been a better option.  Austin is more direct than Waite and will run at panicking defenders whereas Waite tends to play too much like a midfielder.  Sam did come on later once we had scored and then gave the Chorley defence a torrid time.

Our consolation goal came with just over a quarter of a hour to go when a pass into the area from McQuilkin was met by Andre Brown who then took the ball forward a little then fired home past the Chorley keeper, Ritchie Branagan.

We were denied an equaliser a few minutes later when the keeper was taking a goal kick with Elton N'Gwatala close by to him knowing that the keeper was prone to dither under close scrutiny.  Just as he moved forward Branagan dropped the ball and quick as a flash Elton scrabbled to get the ball and could have been clear on goal until he heard the whistle blow.  Incredibly the referee deemed that Elton had fouled the keeper: he hadn't touched him, and gave Chorley a free kick amidst shouts of cheating from the Harriers faithful.

We had another chance to rescue the game five minutes from time when McQuilkin won the ball out wide and crossed in for Truslove to leap for the ball but he couldn't get above the ball and point his header downwards and the chance went over the bar.

With time running out Elton could have paid the keeper back but his snap shot went just wide of the post and then in a last gasp corner Alex Palmer left his area to come forward and rose highest to head the ball just wide of the post.  What a celebration that would have been if the ball had gone in?

The whistle finally blew on another away loss for the Harriers and that is where our assault on the title is going to come unstuck.  We have to be more cavalier away from home and, as towards the end of todays game, really go for it and get the ball into the oppositions area.  We need to be scoring goals away from home.

As we left the ground I'm sure I heard a shepherds whistle as his sheep came off the hills to overnight on the Chorley pitch.
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Chorley: Sampson 7, Cottrell 48
 Goal for Harriers: A Brown73

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Chorley FC  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Branagan     A Palmer  
Challoner     Williams gif  
Jarvis     Ezewele gif  
Leather     Croasdale  
Charnock     Lowe  
Jordan     Tunnicliffe  
Blakeman     Knights gif  
Whitham   McQuilkin  
Carver gif     A Brown gif  
Sampson gif gif     N'Gwatala  
Cottrell gif     Gnahoua  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Teague     Thomas  
Beesley     Truslove gif - 56  
McDaid gif - 89     Waite gif - 51  
Roscoe     Austin gif - 74  
O'Keefe gif - 67     Carter  

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