Last Gasp Nottz Grabs A Point
Michael Nottingham struck 4 minute into time added on to rescue a point for Salford against play-off rivals Chorley
TUESDAY 21st MARCH 2017
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
SALFORD CITY 1 CHORLEY 1
0-1 Jack SAMPSON (52nd min)
1-1 Michael Nottingham (90+4 mins)
An equaliser in the 4th minute of time added on was probably more than Salford City deserved following an undistinguished performance, but Michael Nottingham’s dramatic leveller might just turn out to be one of the key goals of the season. Having taken the lead in the 52nd minute the Magpies had looked set to complete a double over their off-key opponents, only to be denied in cruel fashion right at the end.
There was one change from the starting line-up on Saturday, with Nick Haughton rewarded for his impressive showing as substitute with a starting spot tonight - Josh Hine dropped down to the bench.
On a chilly Moor Lane evening the Ammies got off to a decent start, applying some early pressure and winning a couple of corners. They came to nothing and a solid looking Chorley side soon found their feet.
The game at Victory Park earlier in the season had been a physical encounter and Brad Barnes spent a few minutes having a head wound attended to. During this spell Chorley had their first chance of the game as possession fell for Dale Whitham inside the area, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Whitham was involved again in the 16th minute, bringing the ball down expertly, back to goal and outside the area then laying off a pass to the right for Matt Challoner. The full-back’s delivery was decent but Jason Walker was being closed down quickly and could only volley high over the bar. The action switched to the other end where Mike Phenix nodded down a Patrick Brough free-kick from the left only for Billy Priestley's 10 yarder to slam off a Chorley defender.
Chances on goal would be relatively rare during the first half but Salford caused problems for the visiting defence in the 23rd minute. Brad Barnes' pass sent Nottingham away on the right and Chorley only managed to clear their lines after the ball had bounced mischievously around the danger area for a while. The Ammies went closer on the half-hour after George Green’s run took him to the line on the right before he aimed a cross towards the near post. Jordan Hulme got on the end of that one, turning ball towards goal only to be denied by a Chorley defender's brave block.
Not a bad spell for Salford but they almost went behind a few minutes later. The Magpies won a free-kick on the right and Jack Sampson did well to turn the ball back inside from beyond the far post, almost at the line. Chorley skipper Andy Teague had timed his run nicely, into the box and left-of-centre but with the goal gaping could only hit a rising 9 yarder that cleared the crossbar by inches.
That was a great chance for the visitors but otherwise the respective defences were on top and a succession of attacks failed to penetrate sufficiently to worry Branagan or Jay Lynch.
Three minutes before the break Billy Priestley became the first of three Salford players to be booked following a hefty challenge that left Paul Jarvis in need of treatment. The subsequent free-kick was knocked out for a corner but that set piece came to nothing as the Ammies defended well once again.
HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 CHORLEY 0
The first half had been an even affair with some enterprising football and a couple of decent opportunities for each side. It had also seen a fair few promising build-ups come to an end thanks to an overhit or misjudged final ball whilst both defences were proving hard nuts to crack.
The first incident of note after the restart was a booking for Green following a robust challenge on Whitham and minutes later the visitors replaced Stephen Leather with Kieran Charnock.
A scrappy start to the second half and there was certainly nothing elegant about Chorley’s goal in the 52nd minute. Teague's delivery into the box from deep on the right was contested by Simon Grand and Sampson but neither got a touch on the ball. Salford keeper Lynch came out to punch clear but got nowhere near and the ball spun off covering defender Priestley. Sampson has been in good scoring form since signing for Chorley on loan but this was a simple chance as he stabbed home the unexpected opportunity from just a few yards out.
An uncharacteristic error from Salford’s keeper and the visitors were soon looking for a killer second goal. In the 55th minute Whitham tried his luck with a free-kick, centrally positioned and nearly 30 yards out but sent his shot soaring high over the bar.
The Ammies tried to exert some pressure at the other end but were struggling for fluency and this seemed to be turning into one of those nights when nothing comes off. Far too often the final pass was too long or played into areas where there was no red shirt close enough to take advantage. Chorley’s defenders seemed to be first to every ball and on the hour Anthony Johnson & Bernard Morley responded with a double substitution. Off went Green and Mike Phenix and on came Saturday’s penalty hero Richie Allen along with former Magpie Josh Hine.
Hine almost made an immediate impact, launching one of his trademark long throws from the right but Branagan managed to smother the danger at his near post. At the other end Jake Cottrell got in an effort but his angles were wrong amd the ball dropped harmlessly over the target.
In the 64th minute Hine got clear on the right, chipping an accurate angled finish over Branagan and into the net but the assistant had long since raised his flag for offside. Adam Blakeman tried his luck after that, hitting a low right-of-centre effort from 30 yards that was straightforward for Lynch.
This hadn’t been a lucky night for Salford so far but they continued to press and midway through the second half Hulme chased a ball forward through the inside right channel. Branagan looked favourite to get there first only for Hulme to nick possession away from the keeper and the Salford forward was unfortunate to see the ball ricochet off him and out for a goal kick.
Endeavour from the Ammies but little more and as time ebbed away Chorley looked increasingly likely to hold onto their advantage. They were also still looking for a goal that would probably wrap up their win and almost pinched it 15 minutes from time. Whitham threaded a superb pass into the box for Cottrell who could only direct a low, angled shot from the right wide of the far post. Five minutes later Salford put together a rare penetrating attack as Hine crossed from the right and Priestley got up to glance a header that dropped wide of the far post.
With little going their way Salford pushed forward doggedly but there was no real sign that their fortunes would change. Free-kicks, corners and long throws all came to nothing as Chorley dug in for what would be a huge win. The Ammies rolled forward but there didn’t seem to be any way through until Barnes was brought down just outside the area during the 1st minute of time added on. Nick Haughton stood over the free-kick but Salford’s evening was summed up as his effort on goal dropped a few feet over the crossbar.
Time was draining away and the Ammies were staring a potentially very damaging home defeat right in the face. The Chorley supporters gathered in the West Stand were roaring their side on as another Salford attack ended with a punted clearance. Scott Burton dashed over to take the throw-in, midway into the home side’s half of the pitch, on the right. Options were limited for the midfielder but even though Allen had gone deep to offer himself as a target Burton decided Lynch was the better option. It would prove an inspired choice – as the away supporters struck up a jeer Salford’s keeper launched a mighty kick downfield and as the ball dropped Kieran Charnock failed to get in a clearing header. Salford right-back Nottingham's forward run was powered by pure determination and he pushed into the area, shrugging off a challenge from Teague before steering a 10 yard finish past Branagan and into the net.
Mayhem duly ensued as Salford’s players, coaching staff and, of course, supporters celebrated wildy. In contrast Chorley – understandably enough – looked devastated. They had, to a man, put in an impressive shift and seemed to have secured what would have been a priceless victory.
There was no time left for either side to go for a winner and the Ammies had pinched an unlikely point with bare seconds to spare.
FULL TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 CHORLEY 1
A decent first half from Salford’s point of view but after gifting a goal to Chorley they struggled to find a way back into the game. Against hugely determined and physically strong opposition chances to get back on level terms proved elusive and Magpies keeper Branagan had a much quieter time than was the norm during his time wearing the Salford City keeper’s shirt.
Until Nottingham’s equaliser the Ammies hadn’t managed to get a shot in target during the second half as Chorley demonstrated exactly why they have such a good defensive record.
It was certainly limbering up to be “one of those days” for Salford but once again they proved the value of keeping going until the final whistle. Chorley will consider themselves very unlucky not to have gone home with all three points – great chances for Teague and Cottrell could have sealed the victory – but Nottingham’s late, late strike might well prove crucial as we enter the season’s final stages.
Salford will – and have – played much better that this in defeat but maybe lady luck has decided to finish the season clad in red…
1) Jay Lynch
2) Michael Nottingham
3) Patrick Brough
4) Scott Burton
5) Simon Grand (c)
6) Billy Priestley
7) Nick Haughton
8) Brad BARNES
9) Mike Phenix
10) George Green
11) Jordan Hulme
12) Craig King (for HULME, 75th min)
14) Sam Walker
15) David Norris
16) Richie Allen (for PHENIX, 60th min)
17) Josh Hine (for GREEN, 60th min)
Booked: Priestley, Green, Burton
1) Ritchie BRANAGAN
2) Matt CHALLONER
3) Paul JARVIS
4) Andy TEAGUE (c)
5) Scott LEATHER
6) Stephen JORDAN
7) Adam BLAKEMAN
8) Dale WHITHAM
9) Jason WALKER
10) Jack SAMPSON
11) Jake COTTRELL
12) Kieran CHARNOCK (for LEATHER, 51st min)
14) Josh O'KEEFE
15) Marcus CARVER (for WALKER, 71st min)
16) Adam ROSCOE (for BLAKEMAN, 90th min)
17) Robbie McDAID
Referee: Mr. Aaron JACKSON
Assistants: Mr. Daniel HITCHELL & Mr. Lewis RAPER