Vanarama National League North
Blackwell Meadows / 2nd Mar 2019 / 3:00pm
Darlington 1 Chorley 1
Kneeshaw (43 mins, 1-0) Wilson (90+3, 1-1)
Quakers picked up a point against league leaders Chorley, but they were within minutes of picking up all three.
Wilson Kneeshaw, making his second debut for the club after signing last month, put Quakers into the lead just before half time, but Chorley sub Josh Wilson headed the equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time at the end of the game.
However, Chorley keeper Matt Urwin pulled off a stunning save from Harvey Saunders when Quakers were 1-0 up with ten minutes left.
Manager Tommy Wright made five changes to the team that lost at home to Brackley in the previous game, and the new faces injected plenty of pace and movement which caused Chorley all sorts of problems, especially in the first half.
It seemed as if the defence would hold out -- new keeper Jake Turner looked very assured at the back and pulled off two good saves -- but Chorley's pressure finally paid off.
Chorley had an early free kick that was floated into the box for Andy Teague to head harmlessly into the hands of Darlington keeper Jake Turner, and Quakers replied at the other end with a long range shot by Stephen Thompson that went over the top.
Turner pulled off a good save on 10 minutes when Teague tried to chip him from an acute angle after a free kick was blocked, and the keeper backpedalled furiously to touch the ball over the top.
Palmer then played a great ball out to the right for Saunders to latch on to, and his pull back saw Thompson’s shot blocked.
Quakers nearly scored on 19 minutes when Wheatley whipped a free kick in from the left, and Thompson, with a twisting header, put the ball just wide of the post.
Palmer then played the ball through the middle for Wilson Kneeshaw to latch on to, and his right foot shot found the side netting.
Quakers’ pace and movement were causing Chorley problems, and they had another chance on 27 minute when Palmer played a great ball out to the right for Elliott to cross into the middle, where Saunders had a header blocked.
Quakers took a deserved lead on 43 minutes. Wilson Kneeshaw won the ball inside his own half, made good ground, played a 1-2 with Stephen Thompson then beat Urwin with a low right foot shot into the bottom corner for a goal on his second debut!
Darlington 1 Chorley 0
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Thompson went close after half time, when he controlled the ball about 30 yards out, and struck a half volley that dipped just over the top.
At the other end, Elliot Newby tried a right foot shot that went over the bar.
Quakers nearly got a second on 53 minutes. Galbraith hit a long ball downfield that Saunders chased, he nipped between the defender and the keeper, and at full stretch knocked the ball just over the bar.
And they were denied again on 55 minutes when Thompson held the ball up well and set up Saunders, whose low right foot shot was turned around the post by Urwin.
However, Joe Wheatley cleared off the line at the other end after Carver got to the bye line, and from the corner, Meppen-Walter’s header seemed a goal until Turner got down well low to his left and saved with his outstretched left hand.
But again Saunders nearly nipped in at the other end from an Elliott pass, and Urwin saved at his feet.
However, Chorley started to pile on the pressure, and McGurk was just inches away with a left foot shot on the turn.
Quakers, weathered the onslaught, and nearly got a second in the dying minutes. Saunders chased the ball into the box, controlled it, got past two defenders and hit a right foot shot that the keeper tipped over the bar.
Chorley levelled in the third minute of stoppage time when the ball came over from the right, and Josh Wilson headed into the bottom corner.
Final score: Darlington 1 Chorley 1
Turner, Trotman, Galbraith, Wheatley, Ainge, Smith, Elliott, Palmer (sub Henshall 84), Saunders, Kneeshaw (sub Kokolo72), Thompson (sub Nicholson 73)
Subs: Maddison, Hughes
Bookings: Palmer, Thompson, Elliott, Galbraith
Urwin, Challinor, Blakeman, Teague, Meppen-Walter, Jordan (sub Hooper 82), A Newby, O’Keefe (sub Wilson 66, Carver, Almond (Sub McGurk 66), E Newby.
Subs: Cottrell, Anson