Pre-season Game Eight - July 2017
Chorley 1-1 Wrexham
Despite a totally dominant display at Chorley the Reds had to settle for share of the spoils against a side that had only missed out on promotion to the National League when losing in extra time of the play-off final last May.
Scott Boden had given us the lead in the first half, before a free kick pulled the home side level and we also managed to miss a penalty in the closing stages.
Skipper Shaun Pearson sits this one out following his injury late in the game at Altrincham on Tuesday evening, but he is the only absentee, with Niall Freeman call up to the squad.
The first incident of note came on six minutes when Sam Wedgbury was taken out in the centre circle, but the referee waved advantage as Paul Rutherford broke forward before laying off a pass to Chris Holroyd, although the resulting shot didn’t really test Matt Irwin in the home goal.
On 11 minutes, a sweeping attack involving Jennings, Wedgbury, Rutherford and finally Holroyd, saw the striker fire a stinging effort from the edge of the home area and force Urwin into a flying save to beat the ball away.
There should have been a penalty to Wrexham on 14 minutes, when Holroyd was knocked in the back by Andy Teague, while jumping to head a Rutherford cross. The referee was having none of it, a rather generous decision, which in pre-season you just shrug your shoulders and get on with the game – maybe not so in a week’s time!
Shortly afterwards Holroyd was tackled on the edge of the Chorley box, which was waved away, although on another day it might have gone our way, but seconds later Rutherford was whistled against when he seemed to win the ball cleanly on the halfway line…
More Wrexham pressure ended with James Jennings unleashed a great shot across the face of the Magpies’ goal from the side of the box, but it travelled to safety when just missing the back post.
Rutherford was unlucky that his run and cross on 24 minutes didn’t have a better ending, but it allowed Scott Boden to get a touch and force a corner.
Just before the half hour, Kelly was at the by-line to deliver a low cross that was blocked but ran towards Holroyd, who did well to get his effort away, but a home leg managed to get in the way to divert the ball away from the danger zone.
A Rutherford left wing corner on 30 minutes skimmed off the head of Manny Smith, arrived at the back post where Jennings controlled the ball and had to lift his shot with keeper and a defender between him and the net. In the end, the rising ball also cleared the crossbar, but not by much.
The Reds finally broke Chorley’s resistance on 35 minutes, when up from a set piece Manny Smith stood off the pack of defenders and the ball carried through to him. With time to steady himself, his shot from 12 yards forced a great save from Urwin, but the ball only ran loose for the predatory Boden to tap home from close range.
Just before the break, another lovely through ball by Kelly split the home defence and allowed Holroyd to run on, although under pressure he still got away an angled drive that forced Urwin into a diving save.
The first real moment of concern for the Reds came as we entered added time, with a ball ricocheting around the visitors’ box before it deflected off Manny Smith and into the arms of Chris Dunn.
Three changes for the Reds the break, with Leo Smith, Kevin Roberts and Jack Mackreth coming on for Kelly, Wedgbury and Rutherford – with Roberts going to right back and Hurst pushing forward into midfield.
A lovely surging run by Wright out of midfield, saw him ride two tackles before finding the over lapping Roberts, who crossed for Boden, but the Chorley keeper was off his line to intercept.
Roberts was involved in the action again moments later, pulling the ball back onto his left foot for a shot direct at Urwin.
Wrexham did concede a few freekicks around the box and on 56 minutes it was burley figure of Courtney Meppen-Walter who crashed his set piece home from 25-yards, curling it into the top corner of Chris Dunn’s net.
It might have been against us, but it was still a great finish by the midfielder.
A free kick by Jennings found Manny Smith at the back post, but somehow the big defender was unable to convert from close range, firing his effort into the advertising boards.
On the hour, another two changes for the Welshmen, with Ntumba Massanka and Mark Carrington on for Holroyd and Wright.
Only on the pitch for a matter of minutes, Carrington took a whack to the side of the head and needed a few minutes of attention, before play was able to continue.
Chorley had another chance through Enock Likoy-Elumba, coming in from the right flank and shooting at Dunn.
Following a left wing throw in, both Mackreth and Leo Smith managed to knock the ball across the face of the home goal, without anyone applyng the finishing touch.
Wrexham’s last substitution came in the 80th minute, when scholar Niall Freeman replaced Boden.
Two minutes later and Mackreth was fouled in the box, taken from behind when clean through and only the keeper to beat - through the referee elected to book the offending player - which in a league game would indicate a genuine attempt to play the ball, intersing to see if the video agreed.
Tums stepped up and his effort was saved by Urwin going to his left, although the ball was only half cleared and ended up at the feet of Jennings for a shot from 22 yards out, that the keeper held onto with ease.
Another free kick for the home side saw Adam Roscoe fire round the Wrexham wall from 25-yards and force Dunn into a full length save, low to his left.
That wrapped up the afternoon and honours were even.
Thanks to all who made it up the M6 and another good turn out of Reds for our final pre-season fixture before the big kick-off next Saturday.
Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Charnock (Phillips 46), Meppen-Walter (Roscoe 75), Whitham (Likoy-Elumba 46), Carver (Bullock 83), Gornell, Wilson.
Subs: C Smith, Leneham, Branagan.
Wrexham: Dunn, Hurst, Marx, M Smith, Jennings, Rutherford (Mackreth 46), Wright (Carrington 61), Wedgbury (Roberts 46), Kelly (L Smith 46), Boden (Freeman 80), Holroyd (Massanka 61).
Referee: Andy Sykes