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Chorley FC 0gifHarriers 1 - Play off S/F 1st leg

Date: 03-05-17 gif Venue: Victory Park gif att: 2487 gif away fans: 400 (est)
Arthur's strike gives Harriers the advantage

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers came away from a tough encounter at Chorleys Victory Park ground this evening with a one goal lead to take back to Aggborough this coming Sunday.  A wonderful goal from Arthur Gnahoua late in the second half put a smile on the 400 Reds fans who had made the journey North.

James McQuilkin returned to the starting eleven after missing the previous game with a slight ankle knock.  Daniel Nti was still out with an Achilles injury while Elton N'Gwatala is expected to miss all of the playoff games with a shoulder injury that will need surgery.

The game got underway on the home sides awful pitch at a breakneck pace with the Harriers having all of the possession.  Within the first ten minutes of the game we could have been a couple of goals clear after Andre Brown was the first to test the Chorley keeper, Richie Branagan, but he blocked his shot and then two minutes later Zaine Francis-Angol swept the ball in from out wide for Gnahoua to strike but his shot went wide.  Brown again had another chance to score but could only watch as his nice strike went over the bar.

We came even closer to scoring a minute after when Jordan Tunnicliffe got his head to the ball and send his header crashing against the crossbar with the Chorley keeper well beaten.

The pace couldn't be kept up though and some strange refereeing didn't help either side.  Scott Leather was only booked when he bought down last man Gnahoua and then he gave us a free kick when Ryan Croasdale pulled one of theirs back.  The assistant on our right was no better when he flagged Joe Ironside offside even though he ran five yards to overtake their defender to get to the ball.

The Magpies began to make some ground against us when they had their first real chance on goal when Adam Blakeman sent a low drive in forcing Sam Hornby into scrambling across his area to flip the ball out for a corner.  As usual we tried our best help the opposition score when Croasdale mis-judged a back header to Hornby and forced Sam into scuttling across the area to push the ball away.

Mid-way through the half there was a real scare for us when Blakeman, again, looked to be their dangerman with a well taken free kick from well outside the area that he blasted goalwards and avoided the wall completely but not Sam Hornby who expertly got down to it for a brilliant stop.

We tightened up a bit following that scare and the remainder of the first half passed without any further danger.
  HT: 0 - 0
The home side started the second half the stronger and came out with the intention of getting an early goal but our defence stood strong.  Keith Lowe and Tunnicliffe were impeccable at the back while Hornby was there to make some top class saves when called upon and restricted the hosts to half chances and shots from distance.

It was the Harriers that came the closest to opening the scoring though when a melee in the penalty area saw the ball flying back and forth to finally fly off the legs of Branagan after Joe Ironside got a boot to it.  The ball still stayed around but was finally cleared to safety by an aging Chorley defender.  A minute later a shot from someone in Red crashed against the foot of the post and was cleared away again.

In a foray on our goal substitute Adam Roscoe, on a minute earlier, went down too easily in the penalty area under a Keith Lowe challenge and the referee rightfully waved away all claims for a penalty.

Then came the goal and what a goal it was.  A thing of beauty.

Some scrappy heading of the ball from both sides looked as if it was going nowhere until it was taken down by Gnahoua and then with a sidestep, or two, he sent in a dipping shot that left the Chorley keeper trying to catch thin air.  The Harriers fans erupted as one and then awaited the second but sadly it didn't come.

We continued to contain their threat and some late substitutions helped with that.  The only chance of note that they could muster was from Dale Whitham when he blazed over the bar from twelve yards out.

The referee added on four minutes of time that eventually rolled out to an agonising seven minutes by the Fylde method of calculating time but when it did finally go we knew that we were half way there.  Or should it be a third of the way because we still have two more games to go.
  FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Gnahoua 77

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Talk about the game here  
Latest table and stats here  

Chorley FC  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Branagan     Hornby  
Challoner     Hodgkiss  
Jarvis gif     Francis-Angol gif  
Teague     Croasdale  
Leather   Lowe  
Charnock gif     Tunnicliffe  
Blakeman gif     Waite gif  
Witham     McQuilkin  
Carver     Ironside  
Walker   Gnahoua gif gif  
Cottrell     A Brown  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
O'Keefe gif - 82     Sonupè  
Roscoe gif - 61     Carter gif - 80  
Beesley gif - 82     Williams gif - 91  
Azam     Dieseruvwe gif - 94  
Myers     Truslove  

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