Eastwood Town 0 Chorley 1
Eastwood were once again left to rue missed opportunities as Chorley went away from Coronation Park with all three points on Saturday.
If ever a game summed up Eastwood’s season this was it. Plenty of endeavour, no luck in front of goal and punished for one mistake.
Darren Stephenson started brightly for Chorley, shooting wide with the first chance of the game, before Eastwood’s TJ Nightingale forced the first save, cutting in from the left and letting fly but Jack Cudworth in the Chorley goal produced an acrobatic drive to palm to safety.
Openings were at a premium with Louis Barnes and Chris Denham both shooting from outside the box without troubling Andrew.
The Badgers nearly took the lead in the 26th minute as defender Romaine Graham met Alex Troke’s corner superbly only to see the ball cannon off the crossbar.
However, the best chance of the half fell to Chorley midfielder Jamie Vermiglio, who was afforded too much time and space in the box but pulled his shot wide.
The lively Anthony Griffith Jnr saw a free-kick well saved by Cudworth, but it was Chorley that ended the half strongly.
A combination of Deon Meikle and Mitch Hanson were called upon to stop the dangerous Stephenson who had muscled his way into the box. Then Stephenson played in Dale Whitham with only Meikle’s last ditch tackle preventing the midfielder from scoring.
The second-half started in controversy when Jermaine Hollis was axed down inside the box but the referee, who seemed to be infuriating players on both sides, waved penalty claims away.
Eastwood midfielder Paul Riley fired across goal and Griffith Jnr saw another free-kick well saved as the Badgers started to take control of the game.
So it came as a surprise when the winning goal came in the 67th minute against the run of play.
Meikle, who had been outstanding all game, made a hash of his clearance and Denham drilled his shot off a defender into the corner of the goal.
Chris Shaw almost equalised for the home side moments later when he latched onto Paolo Piliero’s cross field pass but saw his well-placed shot smack the crossbar once again.
Stephenson then hit the base of the Eastwood post after latching onto Whitham’s cross as the game started to open up.
Shaw’s free-kick caught Cudworth too far off his line, a back pedalling dive preventing the Eastwood defender from scoring.
The keeper preserved the visitors’ lead with a smart save to deny Adam Somes a goal on his Eastwood debut and in the final minute Meikle headed over a half chance as another three points slipped away.
Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Alex Troke 3 Chris Shaw 4 Mitch Hanson (Adam Somes 46) 5 Deon Meikle 6 Romaine Graham 7 Jermaine Hollis 8 Travis Munn (Paolo Piliero 55) 9 TJ Nightingale 10 Anthony Griffith Jnr 11 Paul Riley. Subs not used: Josh Raven, Troy Pennycooke-Morgan Chorley: 1 Jack Cudworth 2 Mark Ross 3 Louis Barnes (Steve Flitcroft 75) 4 Andy Teague 5 Andy Russell 6 Dale Whitham 7 Adam Roscoe (Simon Garner 12) 8 Jamie Vermiglio (Ashley Parillon 66) 9 Ciaran Kilheeney 10 Darren Stephenson 11 Chris Denham. Subs not used: Steve Foster, Ahmadi Proya.
Scorer: Denham 67
Att: 164 Ref: Michael Bingham
Best Badger: Deon Meikle
by Andy Cope