Chorley survived a major scare and had to come from two goals down to earn a replay at Victory Park tomorrow evening against very spirited Northern Premier League opponents.
Boss Jamie Vermiglio opted to make a number of changes from his regular first-choice line-up, a tactic which came close to backfiring as the Magpies’ equaliser came with just five minutes to spare, shortly after influential midfielder Martin Smith had received a second yellow card for handball and been given his marching orders.
A boisterous biting wind made conditions difficult and Chorley were the slower to settle, given an early let-off when Tomas Poole skied a great chance from some six yards.
As Chorley got into the game, Josh O’Keefe saw his volleyed attempt tipped over the bar and Ntumba Massanka contributed two athletic efforts which were not far off-target.
Matlock delivered an early blow on the resumption when following a corner which caused a scramble for possession in the Chorley goalmouth Spencer Harris lifted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
The hosts went two up on 65 minutes, a superb left-wing centre finding Luke Hinsley who had an easy finish at the back post from three yards. Four minutes later Chorley hit back as O’Keefe bundled the ball into the net from a Smith corner.
As the Magpies’ improvement continued, Marcus Carver under pressure fired inches wide.
Smith’s dismissal however with six minutes to go looked to have made the Magpies’ hopes of staying in the Trophy more remote but a minute later Chris Holroyd, introduced only a couple of minutes earlier, pulled off the escape, sticking out a leg to divert an O’Keefe shot into the net.
"We gave ourselves a mountain to climb,’ observed Vermiglio after the match. "But credit to the players for getting themselves out of the mess they were in, caused by individuals switching off at key moments. I am relieved to have got a draw in the end against a Matlock side with fire in their bellies who were organised and played very well.’
CHORLEY : Eccles, Blakeman, (E.Newby,66), Meppen-Walters, O’Keefe, Carver, Ross, Cottrell, Smith, Baines, Nortey (Dodds,74), Massanka (Holroyd,82). Unused subs. Challoner, Teague.