Leamington 1 Chorley 1
A strike deep into added time by stand-in skipper Josh O’Keefe rescued a well-deserved point for the Magpies from a scrappy game.
The only real winner was a ferocious wind blowing straight down the pitch.
It produced the predictable ’game of contrasting halves’ with the Brakes the more dangerous in the first half and Chorley taking a grip on the second.
Although it was a late, late show, there was no denying Jamie Vermiglio’s men their right to a share of the points for their persistence in horrible playing conditions.
Marcus Carver fired an early warning shot which Leamington skipper Tony Breeden held comfortably enough.
But the hosts were soon in the ascendancy and Kieran Dunbar wasted the first clear chance by shooting high over the bar.
But Dunbar was crucially involved in the opening goal after 31 minutes, crossing from the by-line for the predatory Coley Bishop – who bagged two point-saving goals in midweek – to volley into the net from close range.
Chorley’s best response was just before the interval when Louis Almond almost caught Breeden out with a stinging drive from distance.
With the wind now behind them, the Magpies resumed with great purpose but it was not until the final quarter of the match that they seriously threatened the equaliser.
Substitute Alex Newby cut inside and saw his shot blocked right in front of the net.
Then, following good hold-up play by Almond, substitute James Hooper curled a fine effort just too high.
Hooper came closer with a fierce shot which Breeden did well to palm over the bar but with the Leamington defence dealing resolutely with a stream of crosses into the box it looked as if Chorley would run out of time.
However, with the signalled four added minutes already up, Josh Wilson nodded the ball down for O’Keefe to drill an unstoppable shot low into the corner of the net to bring the Magpies level.
Vermiglio was understandably delighted to gain a point.
He said: “I thought we were the better side throughout in awful conditions.
“We were resilient and dogged and kept going and finally got the goal we deserved.”
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Anson (Wilson 60), Meppen-Walter, Jordan, Cottrell (A Newby 68), O’Keefe, Carver (Hooper 78), Almond, E Newby.
Subs (not used): Whitham, Lussey.