MOORS maintained their position at the top of the Vanarama National League North thanks to a battling 2-2 draw away at Chorley, reports John Clothier.
On a chilly autumnal Saturday afternoon, Moors made the long journey to Lancashire to take on last year’s beaten play-off finalists in the knowledge that they took four points off their rivals last season.
The visitors started the match in blistering style and with only 70 seconds on the clock Jimmy Armson ran at Chorley’s defence before unleashing a low drive at the unsuspecting keeper Ashton who parried the ball into the path of Akwasi Asante who duly despatched it into the back of the net for the opening goal.
On five minutes again Asante was through for a one on one but this time Ashton’s quick reaction saw him save with his legs.
Disaster struck when Jack Bryne and Dale Whitham went for a 50/50 chest high ball in the middle of the park and the Solihull midfielder was red carded for dangerous play.
The hosts made every long pass count as they exploited the weakened Moors midfield but nevertheless the visitors were unlucky not to extend their lead when Liam Daly connected with Beswick’s corner only to rattle the crossbar.
On 20 minutes, however, the equaliser came after Danny Lewis, under pressure, failed to hold Cottrell’s cross into the box and Doyle hit home from short range.
Moore went close on 25 minutes but was foiled by the keeper and Ryan Beswick’s 18 yard effort was effectively blocked after Asante pulled the ball back into his path.
Darren Stephenson was exploiting the right flank with his speed and it was from one of these forays that Chorley extended their lead on the half hour as Daly put the ball into his own net.
The Magpies piled on the pressure but Whitham with the goal at his mercy shot wide. With three minutes added time yielding no further goals Moors retreated to the changing rooms for Marcus Bignot’s half time briefing.
With no immediate team changes Moors took the second half to their hosts with an unbeaten record to protect and after Danny Lewis saved a deflected shot on its way to the top right hand corner, it was all Solihull.
Beswick volleyed from the 18 yard line and forced Ashton into another fine save and Daly was again denied by the shot stopper when he headed for goal from Beswick’s 35 yard free kick, only to see the keeper’s one handed save.
As the hour mark approached Beswick took three consecutive corners from the right side, the last of which cleared the Chorley defence but the pass back into the box landed at the feet of Jimmy Armson who through a melee of legs squeezed it into the right hand corner of the net.
With 30 minutes left both teams went for the winner. Armson fired inches wide whilst at the other end Bond suffered the same fate.
Manager Bignot swapped Walker and Junior English for Nottingham and Beswick before Asante shot from between two defenders again to be denied by the keeper’s feet.
As the game entered 5 minutes added time Walker’s pass to Gittings was hit wide but with almost the last kick of the day, Gittings looked certain to steal all three points after a slick move between Moore and Asante but a perfectly timed tackle from Doyle spoilt the move.