Winter sees red but Magpies earn point

Mark Ross challenges for the ball
Mark Ross challenges for the ball

Chorley extended their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought draw in the Vanarama Conference North against Oxford City.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock and Chorley had Sam Ashton to thank as the shotstopper pulled off two excellent saves.

Midfielder Harry Winter saw red in the final quarter of the second half, but Chorley held on to secure their fifth point of the season.

Josh Hine, Jack Dorney, Jamie Vermiglio and Kyle Jacobs all missed out through injury and suspension, while Winter and Darren Stephenson returned to the squad after a bout of flu and the latter completing a ban.

The Magpies looked to take a grip of the game in the early stages without testing City goalkeeper Mark Scott.

Both sides worked hard but the bobbly pitch offered nothing for Chorley’s favoured passing style of play.

Oxford started to grow into the game and the ball went from end to end with neither goalkeeper having to make a real save.

That was until just after the half-hour mark when Ashton pulled off a smart save from a strike from distance,.

Then five minutes later he combined with the impressive Adam Dodd to keep the score line blank, charging out of his area while Dodd covered behind to pick up the pieces.

As the half drew to a close, Oxford continued to press the Chorley goal, first a header flew over the bar and then an inswinging cross rattled the crossbar.

Chorley didn’t sit back, with Chris Almond and Paul Jarvis combining, but the steady Scott blocked any efforts and then smothered the rebound before full-back Dodd had chance to pounce.

It was a quiet opening to the second half as the pitch continued to impact the away side.

Oxford started to press just after the hour mark, but Ashton stood firm and comfortably saved from an acrobatic effort and then he tipped a free-kick over the bar.

The Magpies started to tire, and the returning Stephenson was introduced as well as the fit again Adam Mather and

Adam Roscoe.

James Dean, Almond and Mark Ross were all withdrawn, the latter having to be taken off due to a reoccurring achilles injury.

Just before the changes, Chorley were reduced to

10 men.

A sloppy mistake from the usually reliable Andy Teague left the defence exposed and Winter lunged in and with a last-gasp challenge.

Unfortunately, he took out the Oxford forward, which was deemed a professional foul and a straight red was shown.

The decision was met by a number of grumbles, in particular with the Chorley fans who were level with the challenge and felt that Winter took the ball first before the man.

Chorley then had their backs against the wall but as they have shown under Garry Flitcroft’s tenure, the side stood firm and defended everything Oxford could throw at them.

After a tense last 15 minutes, the referee brought and end to proceedings and Chorley saw the game out at Marsh Lane to return home with a point.

Chorley: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross (Adam Roscoe 85), Adam Dodd, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Jake Cottrell, Paul Jarvis, Dale Whitham, James Dean (Darren Stephenson 65), Harry Winter, Chris Almond (Adam Mather 83).

Subs not used: Jack Lynch, Laquan Esdaille-Binney.

Attendance: 312.