Last-gasp winner in an away day to forget

Gloucester City v Chorley - Conference North - Saturday, April 11, 2015 James Dean scores from the penalty spot

Gloucester City v Chorley - Conference North - Saturday, April 11, 2015 James Dean scores from the penalty spot

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When the DVD of ‘Chorley FC 2014-15’ comes out, fans won’t want to watch the games against Gloucester City again.

The Tigers came were victorious on Saturday to complete a league double over Garry Flitcroft’s men, and which also meant Chorley missed the chance to book their place in the play-offs.

And the Magpies can have no complaints after a poor performance at The Abbey Business Stadium, home of Cheltenham Town, who ground share with the Vanarama Conference North side.

The game started slowly with Chorley’s first meaningful chance carved out after nine minutes.

Stand-in skipper Dale Whitham launched a dangerous ball into the box, but Josh Hine was denied by Paul White in the Tigers goal.

Just two minutes later, Whitham was in the centre of the action once again as after a good run into the box, he was brought down by Billy Jones.

Referee Tom Webb had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and leading goal scorer James Dean smashed the penalty emphatically past White to give Chorley the lead.

The Magpies could have doubled their advantage as Aaron Burns hit a fabulous shot but the busy home keeper parried well.

But City then levelled after 15 minutes when Nick Wright managed to make a surging run to the by-line and crossed for Harry Williams who saw his looping header come off the post and into the goal .

This seemed to galvanise the Tigers and they had chances to take the lead.

Wright saw a glancing header sail narrowly wide after a fantastic cross by Mike Green, while Williams also had a good chance after dancing his way past Matthew Flynn, Chris Doyle and Mark Ross but Sam Ashton dashed to collect the ball.

In the second half, Chorley struggled to get a footing and City looked the much more dominant team. A low free-kick from Jones was pumped into the box and it looked as though the Magpies were in trouble until Ashton dealt well with the danger.

Femi Orenuga then burst through and tried to take the ball around Ashton, but he did superbly to get a foot to the ball and kick it out of play.

Flitcroft made his first change as Burns was replaced by Chris Almond.

Too many times, the visitors attacked aerially.

However, the substitution nearly worked on 60 minutes when Almond teed up Dean who found himself in behind the defence, but his effort went sailing over.

Following a little pressure from the Magpies, City were unlucky not to score when James Bowen unleashed an unbelievable effort from 40 yards out that left Ashton back pedalling as it cannoned off the bar to safety.

A long goal kick by Ashton almost caused Matt Williams to score an own goal with an ungainly slice of a clearance but luckily for him, White was on hand to smartly gather.

With time running out, the game started to resemble a tennis match as the ball was constantly flying from one half to the other.

It wasn’t pretty and at times frustrating.

The Tigers stood firm and in added time got their rewards for a battling display.

Captain Webb got hold of the ball and after a dashing run along the penalty box, he cut inside to fire a left-footed shot into the bottom corner past the scrambling Ashton.

Seconds after the restart, the referee blew for full-time to the delight of the home fans as the victory near enough guarantees them safety from relegation.

For the Magpies, it was a tough lesson and one they will have to learn from quickly if they want to cement a position in the play-offs come the end of the season.

CHORLEY: Ashton, Ross, Mather, Flynn, Doyle, Winter (Cottrell 69), Hine, Whitham, Dean, Burns (Almond 58), Dorney. Subs not used: Roscoe, Lynch, Teague

Attendance: 445