Ross makes his Mark to earn away point

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Chorley continued their fine start to the Evo-Stike League Premier Division season by picking up a hard-fought point at Stamford.

A free-kick from Andrew Burgess gave Stamford an early lead but Mark Ross netted to ensure the Magpies secured a point.

Chorley dominated large periods of the game but again struggled to convert their possession into chances.

Returning to league action after last weekend’s disappointing FA Cup exit against Vauxhall Motors, the Magpies lined up with again a strong contingent from Chorley making the lengthy trip to

Lincolnshire.

The game started brightly with the home side’s Ryan Robbins posing a threat fresh off the back of signing a new deal with his club.

The Magpies’ first chance came from hard-working striker James Dean. A smart cross from Josh Hine saw Dean meet the ball on the full but his effort sailed over.

But Chorley were hit by a setback in the 17th minute.

A free-kick was given away on the edge of the area and Burgess bent the ball around Sam Ashton’s four-man wall and the ball nestled into the corner of his.

Chorley were dealt an even bigger blow next as the influential Keil O’Brien was substituted moments later .

He appeared to pull his hamstring in an earlier

challenge.

Ross joined the returning skipper Andy Teague at centre-half as the Magpies rejigged their personnel and looked to bounce back.

Chances started to come with Dean again having another headed chance but the Stamford goalkeeper comfortably saved the ex AFC Fylde forward’s header.

But Stamford continued to look dangerous on the counter attack with Robbins’ pace proving a threat on numerous occasions.

On 35 minutes, Chorley found a deserved equaliser.

Tom Baker swung in a corner from the left-hand side and, after deflections off Teague and Dale Whitham, the ball was bundled over the line in a combination from Robbins and Ross, with the latter being credited with the goal by officials.

As the first half drew to a close, both teams had chances to take the lead, most notably Richard Westley’s fierce shot at the Chorley goal which was kept out by Ashton diving low to his right.

The second half saw Chorley dominate possession but they were ubable to convert any chances they had.

And Stamford defended solidly throughout the second period limiting Chorley to a number of long range efforts.

Hine proved to be a thorn in the Stamford side all game as his pace caused a number of problems down the right-hand side.

The former Skelmersdale man is still struggling with a groin problem but he again linked up with Dean from a cross, but Dean’s volley was fired straight at Jones between the posts.

By now, Chorley were pressing for the winner which would have seen the Magpies sit top going into non-league weekend.

Whitham again showed his class on the edge of the area but a smart turn sailed inches over the bar.

With 20 minutes to go, former Macclesfield man Simon Wiles was introduced, replacing Hine.

Wiles, who is looking stronger each match after a two-year spell out of the game with injury, gave the Magpies another dimension going forward as boss Garry Flitcroft urged his players to push forward in the final period of the game.

The final minutes saw Chorley have a number of long-range efforts with Dean being used as a target man in the 4-3-3 formation.

Despite an earlier save, Ashton was largely a mere spectator in the second half as Jake Cottrell saw his strike just wide of the post.

Darren Stephenson had a great chance late on, but again Jones dealt comfortably with the chance and moments later the referee brought an end to proceedings.

The Magpies remain joint top going into the weekends’ fixtures when they take on Rushall Olympic at Victory Park.

Chorley: Ashton, Walmsley, O’Brien, Teague, Mather, Cottrell, Hine, Baker, Whitham, Stephenson, Dean. Subs:- Ross (O’Brien 19), Meaney, Vermiglio, Roscoe, Wiles (Hine 65)

Attendance: 281