Magpies left to rue slow start in opener

Marcus Carver battles for a header
Marcus Carver battles for a header
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The hoped-for flying start to Matt Jansen’s first season in charge was quickly halted by a slick, remodelled Nuneaton side who banished the relegation blues of last season to take early control of what proved to be a thoroughly entertaining and exciting contest for a sun-soaked crowd of 1,011 at Victory Park.

That there was no joy for the new Magpies’ boss was down to his team’s fateful slow start which allowed Nuneaton’s full-timers to race into a two-goals’ lead.

Looking sharp and composed on the ball, the visitors made the most of early midfield control and could have been even further ahead before Chorley got a foothold in the game.

Yet it was a different story after the break, with Nuneaton forced to withstand a sustained bombardment of their goal.

With excitement building to fever-pitch, the visitors survived a series of remarkable goalmouth escapes and were ultimately fortunate to take all three points.

Joe Maguire headed Nuneaton into a sixth-minute lead, rising above the defence to plant a free header into the corner of the net, courtesy of the Magpies’ failure to man the far post.

Chorley’s best reply was a narrowly off-target James Dean header from a deep cross.

Nuneaton’s star signing, last season’s Northern Premier League golden boot award-winner Aaron Williams, missed a clear chance to double the lead, firing against the advancing Sam Ashton’s legs after breaking clear.

But he showed his true ability on 34 minutes when set free by Callum Chettle’s incisive solo run, coolly beating Ashton with a precisely-placed cross-shot.

Chorley got back into the game three minutes later with a fine goal.

James Dean cleverly released Josh Hine down the right and he raced to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Marcus Carver who brilliantly executed a difficult header to find the back of the net.

With the Magpies now finally firing, Dean whipped in a fierce angled drive well held by impressive keeper Jordan Smith.

Chorley were bristling with intent again immediately after the interval and Chris Almond had a strong shot charged down before Smith arched himself to tip Hine’s ten-yards’ drive over the bar.

Then a thunderous Sam Sheridan snap-shot from distance ricocheted off a defender for an unproductive corner.

Urged on by the raucous home support, Chorley were now well on top and Nuneaton repeatedly packed their penalty area to repel the


Hine was again denied when his low drive through a crowd of players was hacked off the line with goalkeeper Smith beaten.

But against the run of play, Nuneaton grabbed a third goal to cushion their lead.

A free-kick was cleared only just beyond the penalty area where David Morgan, given too much time and room, cracked a low drive into the far corner of the net.

And how the visitors were to need that, as Chorley piled on the pressure!

Numerous shots were desperately blocked but on 86 minutes Hine finally and deservedly got on the scoresheet, netting easily from a Darren Stephenson lay-off.

Nuneaton were defending as if for their lives and with time running out Carver was unlucky to see a firm diving header hooked clear in the jaws of goal, the follow-up shot also being charged down.

Chorley : Ashton, Ross, Dodd, Teague, Flynn, Sheridan (Roscoe 58), Hine, Whitham, Dean (Guy 81), Carver, Almond (Stephenson 66).

Unused subs: Charnock, Jarvis.

Referee : Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 1,011.