Tactical success

Scorer: Dale Whitham was on target for Chorley
Scorer: Dale Whitham was on target for Chorley

FC United of Manchester 1

Chorley 3

It is performances like this that can be the difference between a team making the play-offs and not.

All the heroics by Garry Flitcroft’s rejuvenated Chorley side at Gigg Lane ended
FC United’s proud 10-match unbeaten run and almost certainly eliminated them from the title-race.

The Magpies ticked all the boxes against Karl Marginson’s outfit and Flitcroft pulled off some tactical masterstrokes during the 90 minutes.

The result was the Magpies’ fifth win in six was built on disciplined effort full of desire, superbly orchestrated by the impressive Tom Baker and Dale Whitham in midfield, with Flitcroft’s other recent capture, Paul Jarvis, also impressing.

Chorley started brightly and Whitham tested keeper James Spencer with a diving header .

After repelling United’s efforts to take control, the Magpies deservedly went ahead on 33 minutes.

A searching ball into the box by Baker was nodded across goal by Andy Russell to leave Whitham with the simplest of headers from close range.

The home side responded with urgency and Jack Cudworth pulled off a great save to turn a Matt Wolfenden effort onto a post but soon afterwards on 37 minutes he was helpless to prevent the same player equalising from eight yards following a

Chorley cashed in on a determined start to the second half by regaining the lead in the 53rd minute.

Spencer and the United defence failed to deal with a teasing Tom Ince centre and Russell gleefully accepted a tap-in, much to the delight of the 160 officially-recorded Magpies’supporters in a fine crowd of 2,031.

The Rebels cranked up the pressure but failed to unhinge a resolute Chorley defence, ably marshalled by skipper Andy Teague on his 100th reliable appearance for the Magpies.

Russell typified the visitors’ resistance with a crucial intervention to whip the ball off the toes of substitute Michael Norton in the act of shooting.

As the game entered the closing stages, a third Chorley goal looked more likely than a United equaliser and it duly arrived with six minutes to go.

A well-worked routine from a throw-in culminated in a low Jarvis cross which presented Adam Roscoe at the back post with the chance to wrap up victory.

He duly took it and Chorley coasted to a thoroughly deserved three points.

It may be a long shot, but on this form the NPL Premier Division play-offs are not quite beyond the reach of the Magpies.