The Harriers season came to a premature end in the Aggborough sunshine today when un-fancied Chorley FC overcame a 1-0 deficit, following our win there on Wednesday, to win 2-0 on the day and 2-1 overall. We know just how Chorley play and paid the price by not being able to combat their strong arm style of play but not helped by an extremely poor referee who failed to clamp down on the treatment being meted out.
We started the game with the same eleven that started at Victory Park with the only change coming on the bench where Darryl Knights replaced Manny Dieseruvwe. Up front came our first mistake playing Joe Ironside as the lone striker throughout and seeing him have possibly his worst game in a Harriers shirt through no fault of his own having to cope with two men marking him throughout and a lack of service on the floor. His pace isn't the best either and was shown when Marcus Carver and Jason Walker for the Magpies had pace to burn.
In front of a big crowd it was Chorley that got the game underway but for the first ten minutes it was a very scrappy affair with neither side settling down quickly. The visitors set their stall out with some strong tackling and the referee spoke to them about it but didn't do anything concrete until Zaine Francis-Angol clipped Walker on the edge of the area and got booked.
The opening goal of the game came somewhat against the run of play even though we weren't doing much with our possession. A ball over the top fell just in front of Keith Lowe but, with Sam Hornby coming too far out of the area, he hesitated and Carver nipped in between them to tap the ball home. Ryan Croasdale raced into the area to try and stop it but couldn't get there in time.
It could have been two goals a minute later when their expert free kick taker, Adam Blakeman, hit the underside of the bar after his free kick cleared the wall and then dipped alarmingly before hitting the underside of the bar and then down to just the right side of the goal line from where it bounced back into the field of play and was booted out into touch.
At least we weren't actually losing the game but just merely drawing and we were sure that we would then go on to regain the advantage with a quick response. But it never came.
Chorley continued with their style of play denying us any freedom to play our way and when we did get through our shooting was weak and ineffectual. Ironside had the best chance of clawing the game back but he couldn't get any power on his header and it was dealt with easily by Richie Branagan in the visitors goal.
Chorley ended the half the stronger with defender Andy Teague heading over the bar from a corner.