Late equaliser ruins opening day promise

Harry Winter scores for Chorley against Lowestoft Town
Harry Winter scores for Chorley against Lowestoft Town

An injury time equaliser for Lowestoft Town cost Chorley what would have been a deserved victory in their opening game of the Vanarama Conference North season.

The Magpies found themselves behind early on to a smart Shaun Bammant finish before equalisingthrough a close range Harry Winter goal.

A second half James Dean penalty looked to have sealed an opening-day victory for Garry Flitcroft’s men before an injury-time equaliser from Lowestoft striker Jefferson Louis meant both teams took a share of the spoils.

In front of a crowd of 1,019, the home side’s season got off to the worst possible start.

An innocuous punt downfield from Lowestoft keeper Ashlee Jones dissected Chorley’s defence and, with Sam Ashton stranded, Bammant made no mistake with a low finish to the bottom right-hand corner – just 37 seconds into the match.

The Magpies looked to hit back and should have had an equaliser five minutes later.

After some good work down the right wing, Josh Hine found Chris Almond unmarked six yards out but the midfielder could only direct his header into the ground making the save comfortable for Jones.

Chorley began to dominate possession and were rewarded in the 27th minute when Winter poked in after a goalmouth scramble to score on his competitive debut for the club.

All of the home side’s good play was coming down the right wing courtesy of Hine and Dale Whitham – the latter forcing a brilliant save from Jones after connecting well with a 30-yard shot.

The pressure was beginning to mount on the Suffolk side and Lowestoft captain Sam Gaughran found himself booked just before half-time for hauling down Dean in another promising Magpies attack.

The second half continued in the same vein with Whitham once again testing Jones with another 30-yard strike.

The away side had failed to test Ashton since the equaliser and frustrations appeared to boil over when Bammant was booked for a late challenge on the former FC United goalkeeper during a rare Lowestoft attack.

At the other end of the field, Jones was keeping the away side in the game with a brilliant goalkeeping performance – making yet another outstanding save low to his right from the impressive Whitham.

Chorley finally managed to break the deadlock in the 80th minute.

A long ball from the back saw Hine control of the ballbefore being hacked down on the edge of the box by the onrushing Jones.

After consulting with his linesman, referee Andy Scregg pointed to the spot where Dean made no mistake – finishing low to the goalkeeper’s right.

Five minutes later ,the Magpies had a chance to kill the game when Winter squared for Cottrell only for Jones to make yet another low save.

Chorley would live to regret their missed chances when, in the first minute of added on time, Bammant took advantage of some poor defending to hit a low shot across the face of goal where veteran striker Louis tapped in to earn the Trawler Boys an unlikely point.

Chorley: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, AdamDodd, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine (Paul Jarvis 82), Dale Whitham (Adam Roscoe 86) , James Dean, Harry Winter, Chris Almond. Subs not used: Jack Dorney, Jack Lynch