Flitcroft sees red in heated draw

Garry Flitcroft
Garry Flitcroft

Whitby Town....1 Chorley....1

Chorley ran into a spot of bother as their five-match winning sequence was halted in a dramatic two minutes, Whitby equalised from the second of two back-to-back penalties early in the second half.

It was the Magpies’ first draw since mid-December, a run of 13 games, and their luck certainly ran out here.

Villain of the piece in the eyes of the large contingent of Chorley supporters was East Yorkshire referee Matt McGrath.

Having awarded Whitby a clear-cut penalty in the 51st minute for a trip on Tom Portas which Jack Cudworth saved from Nathan Mulligan, the official promptly stunned the Magpies by awarding a controversial second penalty within a minute.

Cudworth appeared to have safely won the challenge for possession with Craig Farrell before the striker theatrically went over.

On this occasion, Farrell picked himself up to score from the spot despite another brave effort to save by Cudworth who got a hand to the ball.

Heated Chorley protests led to captain Andy Teague being cautioned and manager Garry Flitcroft ordered from the

dug-out by the referee.

Chorley had taken a deserved lead on 39 minutes, when centre-back Keil O’Brien scored his first goal for the club, stabbing the ball home at the back post at the second attempt following a short-corner routine.

Solid defensive work had allowed Cudworth to be a virtual spectator thus far and with steadier finishing the visitors might have had more to show for their superiority by half-time.

Despite the penalty setback, Chorley continued to threaten, with Dale Whitham in particular missing decent chances.

He had shots on four occasions, three in quick succession, without being able to beat the dependable Nick Liversedge in the home goal.

Late on, however, Cudworth had to be alert to tip onto the bar a 30-yard Dave McTiernan shot.

Despite the loss of two potentially crucial points in the chase for a play-offs slot, Flitcroft’s men end a hugely successful March, returning an impressive haul of 16 points out of 18.