Chorley 0, Boston United 0
Frustration hung heavily in the air over Victory Park for the Magpies as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Boston United.
Their opponents succeeded in strangling the life out of this potentially attractive FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie.
The Pilgrims had clearly set out not to lose this game. Intent on slowing proceedings down right from the off, they resorted, it must be said, to time-wasting at every opportunity.
But credit is due to the visitors for a sterling defensive shift which they carried out right to the end even after going down to 10 men with a minimum of 18 minutes to play.
In truth Chorley lacked the guile and subtlety to break Boston down and the tactic of pumping long balls forward against a team which sat back was never likely to unlock the door.
As a spectacle the game was unsatisfying, neither goalkeeper having a serious save to make.
Boston rarely mustered a shot on goal and though Chorley did pull the trigger on occasions their efforts were almost all off-target. Man-of-the-moment Nick Haughton was the main hope of a goal but his shots from outside the box failed to work Boston keeper George Willis.
After an untidy start by both teams, it was left to centre-back Scott Leather to fire the first decent shot, his angled drive fizzing past the far post.
Boston created brief panic in the home goalmouth when Matt Urwin could not hold onto a powerful free-kick and in the ensuing scramble was forced to punch clear twice under pressure. But it was Leather again who came closest to breaking the deadlock.
Adam Blakeman ended an incisive run along the touchline by pulling the ball back for Leather whose strong shot was charged down in a crowded penalty area.
After the break Chorley continued to probe for the breakthrough: Leather drove wide from distance, a curled shot from Haughton sailed just too high and later the unmarked Haughton fired just past the post from 25 yards from Chorley’s familiar pull-back corner routine.
The match erupted after 72 minutes. Boston’s left-back Jan Yeomans had a shout for a penalty turned down and within seconds was in trouble on the edge of his own box. A crude challenge brought Chorley a free-kick and following an ill-tempered melee the referee showed Yeomans a straight red card for violent conduct off the ball.
However, the Magpies could not capitalise on having the extra man, despite sustained pressure in the closing stages. The Boston defence held firm and the closest Chorley came to a winning goal was a Josh O’Keefe header which flew just over the bar.
So the teams have it all to do again at Boston’s Jakeman’s Stadium tomorrow (Tuesday) and on the evidence of this stalemate who would bet against the need for extra time and penalties?
CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (Walker,68), Leather, Jordan, Haughton, O’Keefe, Carver, Wilson (Hughes,81), Cottrell. Unused subs. Anson, Charnock, Jarvis, Azam, Osei Kofi.